A rich biodiversity and healthy ecosystems are vital for the proper functioning of human society. Biodiversity is important to humans for many reasons: many livelihoods are dependent on biodiversity for provision of raw materials for consumption and production; biodiversity provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many ecosystem services; many recreational pursuits rely on our unique biodiversity, such as bird watching, hiking, camping and fishing; tourism industry also depends on biodiversity; many cultures are closely connected to biodiversity through the expression of identity, through spirituality and through aesthetic appreciation; biodiversity has scientific importance – it represents a wealth of systematic ecological data that help humans to understand the natural world and its origins. Biodiversity is also considered by many to have intrinsic value — that is, each species has a value and a right to exist, whether or not it is known to have value to humans.
The economies of all the East African states are heavily dependent on biodiversity and their ecosystem services. Despite this importance, most of the East African countries continue to face numerous challenges in their efforts to mitigate the negative impacts that factors such as over-exploitation, climate change, land use change, urban sprawl, traffic, air pollution and invasive species have on biodiversity. EANECE works with member countries and institutions to enhance the national and regional governance frameworks for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems.