The Government of the Republic of Congo Redoubles Protection of Odzala-Kokoua in the Congo Basin, the World’s Second Largest Rainforest
Brazzaville, Congo: The Government of the Republic of Congo has re-affirmed its management agreement with conservation non-profit African Parks for Odzala-Kokoua National Park, strengthening the partnership agreement for the remaining 15 years of its term and incorporating the Lossi Gorilla Sanctuary, a key adjoining habitat of 380 km2, within the mandate. Building on a decade-long partnership between the Ministry of Forest Economy and African Parks, the agreement signed Friday November 27th reiterates the Congo’s commitment to investing in the park’s sustainability to enhance long-term social and economic benefits from nature.
“We are extremely proud to have concluded a revised agreement for the management of Odzala-Kokoua National Park, including the Lossi Gorilla Sanctuary” said the Minister of Forest Economy Her Excellence Rosalie Matondo. “This new chapter in our partnership to protect one of the Congo’s flagship parks is an expression of our nation’s contribution to the global fight against climate change and biodiversity loss. It is intended to embed conservation in our approach to socio-economic development, enhancing eco-tourism and enabling communities to benefit from healthy, functioning landscapes”.
Odzala-Kokoua National Park is situated in the heart of the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical rainforest. The park is a biodiversity hotspot, sustaining almost unparalleled floral diversity, a significant population of the world’s remaining western lowland gorillas, forest elephants and over 450 bird species; while supporting around 130,000 people in its extended periphery. Moreover, the ecosystem’s contribution to carbon sequestration, global and regional climate regulation and hydrological processes make Odzala a conservation area of the highest priority for the planet.
“The global community is realising the need to protect and preserve what remains of nature, recognising that our survival as a species is dependent on the ecosystem services that nature provides us. We therefore congratulate the Government of Congo for the efforts it has taken, and is taking today, to ensure that the precious biodiversity of the Congo and this world is protected into the future” said African Parks’ CEO Peter Fearnhead.
The Congo’s Minister of Forest Economy, African Parks’ CEO and the European Union Ambassador to the Congo participated in a virtual signing ceremony on November 27th. The event heralded the 10-year anniversary of their partnership for Odzala, which was initiated in 2010 to ensure the effective management and resourcing of the park. Communities are central stakeholders in determining the preservation of Odzala’s exceptional natural resources. By working concertedly together over the course of this decade – with the help of technical and financial partners, in particular the European Union – the park is building sustainability for the benefit of people and wildlife.
With poaching markedly reduced, tourism being cultivated and other income generating activities being developed, the park is not only fostering benefits for local communities but forming part of the Congo’s emergence as a significant conservation destination.
The overall management of Odzala-Kokoua National Park is supported with critical funds from the European Union, Arcus Foundation, Fondation Segré, Save the Elephants and Wildlife Conservation Network’s Elephant Crisis Fund, WWF – The Netherlands, Stichting Natura Africae, US Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, The Wildcat Foundation as well as a number of other private and public donors.
About Odzala-Kokoua National Park: Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the Congo is one of Africa’s oldest national parks. Designated in 1935, it covers an expansive 13,500 km2 area in the heart of the Congo Basin, the second largest rainforest in the world. Humans have occupied the area for over 50,000 years, yet it is still one of the most biologically diverse and species rich areas on the planet, with the park harbouring one of the largest remaining populations of Western lowland gorillas, forest elephants and over 450 bird species. Congo’s Ministry of Forest Economy, Sustainable Development and Environment partnered with African Parks to manage Odzala in 2010 for the protection of its biodiversity and ecosystems services and to secure lasting benefits for people and wildlife. To find out more visit www.africanparks.org.
About the Ministry of Forest Economy: The Republic of Congo plays a leading role in the management of the forests of the Congo Basin. This role is increasingly asserted and recognized internationally. The Forest Economy Department complies with the forest policy defined by the President of the Republic of Congo in the area of sustainable management of forest ecosystems. We started our work in Odzala-Kokoua National Park under this Ministry in 2010.