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ECOs 40th Annual Conference

Media Release - Wellington – 3 July 2012

ECOs 40th Annual Conference 6-8 July 2012 in Wellington

Environmental Responsibility: Leadership, Inclusion and Good Governance

ECO annual conference will be held in Wellington Friday 6 July – Sunday 8 July with Friday and Saturday at 8 Jessie St, Wellington, at the Salvation Army Citadel, this coming weekend. The Conference, focussed on environmental responsibility and good governance in an open society, will hear from a series of experts on international developments, New Zealand practice and law, and on particular issues such as changes to the RMA, the EEZ legislation, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and more.

ECO Co-Chairperson, Cath Wallace said the conference will explore how responsible is New Zealand on the Environment? “Is New Zealand showing leadership, good governance and inclusiveness? How are the environment and the community being considered and treated in recent law and policy?”

The Friday programme includes a discussion on international developments in environmental responsibility and includes speakers who recently attended the Rio+20 meeting in June, and the development of international law on ecocide, public participation, and other developing international norms and the law.

The Conference will hear research results about the use of urgency in Parliamentary process, how recent changes in law and policy are or are not following due process and about the inclusion of civil society, and other New Zealand experience.

Friday evening will be an Antarctic special event as we join with the newly formed Antarctic Oceans Alliance and hear about proposal for the World’s largest network of marine reserves, protecting the Southern Ocean and the Ross Sea. “An evening public reception will hear presentations on the global moves for Antarctic marine protection, covering science and the politics, and will have displays and a presentation and footage from the soon to be released and beautiful film The Last Ocean, made by New Zealand’s Peter Young of Fish-eye films.”

Saturdays programme includes a discussion on responsibility, democracy and the Treaty, and a review of changes to Resource Management law, marine management and the Crown Minerals Act. An array of different viewpoints, including from legal and policy experts are presented.

Saturday evening is a celebration of ECO’s 40 years of work promoting better environmental practice, law and policy, and protection of species and areas, with a look back and a look forward.

Sunday’s programme begins with ceremonial memorial tree-planting for departed environmentalists and conservationists at Bolton St Cemetery with the assistance of Wellington City Council on Sunday morning.

The conference then turns to workshops, to be held at Turnbull House, 11 Bowen Street, opposite Parliament, and in a computer suite at Victoria University of Wellington’s Railway West Wing annexe. There is a choice of two workshops:
• GIS: Community driven mapping and data use - gain some hands on experience in GIS. This will look at using community data for recording and mapping environmental information to nationally useful standards where participants will work interactively using a computer training suite.
• Joining the Antarctic legacy: practical steps towards the world's largest network of marine reserves.

Friday and Saturday's programme will be held at the Salvation Army Citadel, 8 Jessie Street, Wellington central. On Sunday two workshops will be held at Turnbull House and the Victoria University Pipitea campus Railway West Wing

The conference programme and speakers can be found at: http://www.eco.org.nz/what-we-do/eco-conference-2012-2.html

1. For more information on ECO and to register for the Conference please visit http://www.eco.org.nz/what-we-do/eco-conference-2012-2.html

2. Thanks to Gascoigne Wicks Lawyers and Antarctic Oceans Alliance and Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences for support for the Conference.

3. Thanks to Victoria University’s School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences and Wellington City Council for support for the GIS Workshop

4. ECO is an organisation of about 55 member organisations with a shared concern for the environment and conservation. Established in 1972 after a late 1971 meeting of many different organisations, ECO comprises both environmental and conservation organisations, and other organisations who share the concern, but may have other purposes as well. Such other organisations include recreational and professional organisations and the National Council of Women. Our organisations may be location-based, species based, or activity or concern based. ECO also has several hundred Friends of ECO, largely individuals, but also a few corporate Friends.

ECO has long since moved from concerning itself only with specific local problems to considering systemic issues such as the major reforms of environmental administration in New Zealand of the 1980s, oceans governance, and open government. We work for better governance, better policy design, reporting and implementation. We help communities and governments to find better ways forward for the environment and the long term wellbeing of the community and humanity in general. We have various relationships with industry, particularly the forestry industries, but rarely accept funding from commercial entities. We are non-partisan and are particular about that in all our dealings with political parties.

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