Keynote Speakers
Rosalie Matondo

Ministry of Forest Economy Ministry,
Republic of the Congo
Marie-France Lydie Hélène Pongault

Ministry of Cultural, Tourist, Artistic, and Leisure Industries, Republic of the Congo
About the event
The Odzala-Kokoua Forest Massif attained the prestigious status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site on September 16, 2023. From April 30 to May 15, 2024, a high-level joint advocacy campaign is underway in Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, and Washington DC to showcase its vital socio-economic and ecological role and explore opportunities in preservation, carbon credit valorization, ecotourism, and other potential investments.

The Odzala-Kokoua National Park, encompassing an area of 1,354,600 hectares, stands as one of the most vital protected areas not only within the Republic of Congo but across the entire Central Africa sub-region. Within its pristine forest ecosystem lie unique and poorly understood forest formations, including old mature forests, saxicolous, and fog forests, particularly rare in North Congo's Sangha region. A staggering diversity of plant life thrives here, with a recorded count of 1,150 plant species, including four endemic species, and 15 threatened species, alongside at least 32 plant species yet to be identified.

The park boasts an impressive array of wildlife, including over 120 mammal species. Among them, the forest elephant, representing a significant 16% of the continent's forest elephant population, the western lowland gorilla (the largest population globally), the common chimpanzee, the Mandrill, the Dwarf Forest Buffalo, the Bongo, the Sitatunga, the Bush Pig, the Spotted Hyena, and the Leopard.
Bird enthusiasts can spot 463 species,  including ducks, birds of prey, and waders, with 64% of the forest species being unique to the Guinea-Congolese region. The park also hosts 647 insect species, including butterflies, and is a haven for endangered crocodiles such as the long-snouted crocodile and dwarf crocodile, as well as two fish species thriving in geographically isolated areas.

The national park is also home to several indigenous communities—these resilient groups that have inhabited the region for generations, adapting to the forest’s rhythms and relying on its resources for their livelihoods. The intimate knowledge of ecosystems, traditional practices, and cultural heritage of local communities and indigenous populations contribute to the rich tapestry of life within the massif. Their presence underscores the importance of community-based conservation efforts and the need to protect both the forest and its custodians.

Recognizing the invaluable and unparalleled biodiversity of this forest gem, the Republic of the Congo is committed to its conservation as part of a comprehensive national and global strategy linked to socio-economic development. By joining this journey of preserving this natural treasure, not only do we combat climate change, but we also pave the way for sustainable ecotourism and community development.
Los Angeles
Thursday, May 2, 2024

3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Hilton Santa Monica Hotel & Suites
1707 4th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Monday, May 6, 2024

3:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Hotel Crescent Court
400 Crescent Ct, Dallas 
TX 75201

New York
Friday, May 10, 2024

11:00 AM - 1:00 PM

The Westin New York Grand Central

212 E 42nd St, New York, NY 10017

Washington DC
Monday, May 13, 2024

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW Washington D.C. 20036 
Don't miss out.
We look forward to seeing you in your city.
*30 minutes before start time
Doors open
Attendees arrive and get seated to a screening of a short video about the Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
*90 minutes
Speaker panel & Q/A
The Honorables, Rosalie Matondo, Minister of Forest Economy, and Marie-France Lydie Hélène Pongault, Minister of Cultural, Tourist, Artistic, and Leisure Industries, will provide opening remarks, followed by a moderated panel discussion on the theme "Investing in the Republic of the Congo's Biodiversity: Odzala-Kokoua National Park, a World Heritage Site." The panel discussion will be followed by a Q/A.

*Right after the panel
Cocktail reception & networking
Attendees will be directed to the cocktail area to network over light refreshments.

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