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Strong NZ representation at regional forum

Asian Young Leaders Climate Forum
Bogor, Indonesia 3-7 December 2007

Strong NZ representation at regional forum ahead of UN Convention in Bali


This December, three New Zealanders will take part in the Asian Young Leaders Climate Forum (AYLCF) ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties [COP13]. All three were born in the South Island, but with first-hand experience at both poles of the earth, our delegates stand to make a strong impression.

Rebecca Clements, Advisor to the Minister Responsible for Climate Change Issues, and Lisa Johnston of the Ministry for the Environment will participate in AYLCF, while Jinty MacTavish from Natural History New Zealand will direct a film about the forum, to be screened at COP13 in Bali, 8-11 December.

With first-hand experience surveying the McMurdo ice shelf in Antarctica, Nelson-born Lisa Johnston stresses that “our economies are dependent on a stable climate and the ready availability of natural resources. Changes in the environment not only disrupt ecosystems, but also affect political stability. We must work together to find ways to decouple economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. And we must empower individuals to take action and play their part”.

After filming in Greenland and seeing the ice melt close-up, Dunedin-based Jinty MacTavish believes “the challenge now is to get the message - not only of the problems, but also of the solutions - across to more people, in a more engaging way”. Originally from Oamaru, Rebecca Clements says she’s relishing “bringing New Zealand’s environmental values to the table” in this new regional forum.

Initiated by the British Council, AYLCF offers 34 young leaders from 13 Asian/Australasian nations, and the UK, the opportunity to produce a regional climate action plan. This action plan will be presented as a communiqué to COP13 for endorsement.

AYLCF participants come from many different disciplines, including arts, education, business and the media. British Council New Zealand Director Paula Middleton says “The East Asia region is a diverse mix of developing and developed economies, with varying levels of government resource to address climate change. This forum allows those who have inherited the climate change legacy to present their ideas at a level where they will have international impact”.

Indeed, it is the next generation that will have to live or die with the consequences of inaction on climate change, if the government leaders gathering at meetings such as COP 13 fail to reach agreement on the various adaptation and mitigation strategies available.

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Notes for editors:

Asian Young Leaders Climate Forum (AYLCF) is initiated by the British Council and supported by WWF-Indonesia and The Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). The NZ delegates were selected by representatives from British Council, WWF-New Zealand and the Royal Society via a national application process.

British Council is the UK's international organisation for educational and cultural relations. British Council New Zealand connects aspirational young New Zealanders with the best of contemporary UK by building networks of opportunity. We work across the spheres of arts, creative industries, science and education www.britishcouncil.org.nz

Climate Security is a key priority for both the British government and the British Council globally, so AYLCF is not intended as a one-off event. The regional climate action plan will underpin ongoing work in climate security across East Asia, with continued involvement from the AYLCF participants.


ENDS

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