Today, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Okala, a biodiversity technology company, announced a landmark partnership to finance the measurement, valuation and protection of Congolese biodiversity and carbon natural assets. The 15 year-long agreement sees Okala investing US$40 million in the country to measure and value the natural capital of 12 million hectares of land – a combined area larger than England.
Dr Whytock, CEO of Okala, commented: “The Okala-DRC deal represents one of the largest combined biodiversity and carbon data partnerships in Africa between government and the private sector. Given that the DRC is considered crucial in the fight against the global climate crisis – with its fragile rainforests and vast peatlands – this partnership presents an unparalleled opportunity to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis head-on while bringing benefits to the Congolese people and environment. Okala’s biodiversity technology provides a clear, traceable, and auditable pathway between ecological data and genuine biodiversity understanding. This is crucial in establishing confidence in emerging nature markets. We are proud to be putting Okala’s technology into the hands of Congolese experts so the DRC can use its vast natural capital to support economic development.”
The extensive ecological data will be used to calculate and sell high-integrity nature credits on the global carbon and biodiversity markets, with conservative forecasts projecting US$700 million in long-term value. Revenue from these nature credits will be shared among local communities, national parks, the DRC government and science partners.
Okala will support existing partners managing DRC’s national parks and other key landscapes, providing the funding and technical capacity for Congolese experts to collect high quality, traceable carbon and biodiversity measures on the ground. The company is also working with the government and partners to measure, value and protect DRC’s peatlands, which hold three years’ worth of total global carbon emissions.
Today’s agreement between Okala and the DRC’s Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development is set to unlock the country’s natural capital wealth, creating funding routes by which national and international government and private sector organisations can fulfil their climate and biodiversity impact goals through ecosystem restoration and conservation, while providing social and economic benefits to local communities in the DRC.