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Vic to host int. climate change conference

Victoria to host international climate change conference

The threat posed to the world community by climate change is to be the subject of a major international conference to be hosted by Victoria University of Wellington early next year.

The Climate Change and Governance Conference: Critical Issues for New Zealand & the Pacific will be held at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa on 28 and 29 March 2006 and is being organised by the University’s Institute of Policy Studies, in the School of Government, and the School of Earth Sciences.

Professor Jonathan Boston, Chair of the Organising Committee and Deputy Director of the Institute, says the conference is expected to draw leading international figures in the climate change debate.

“Climate change represents one of the greatest challenges for the world community. This conference will explore the nature and likely impacts of climate change and the options for accelerated action by governments.”

On the first day of the conference prominent experts will report on the latest scientific knowledge in areas of key importance to New Zealand and its neighbours in the Pacific while on the second day, there will be keynote speeches by leading politicians, policy experts and some of the principal stakeholders, including Pacific Island nations. The focus will be on the scope for global, regional, national and local initiatives to reduce and manage the risks inherent in climatic shifts.

Professor Boston said individual New Zealanders from many walks of life were increasingly becoming aware of the urgency of the threat posed by climate change.

“But there’s a wide range of views on this topic. Many citizens within New Zealand’s various communities – rural, urban, tangata whenua, immigrants and others – see that there are clear choices along the road ahead. Their input will be important to the development of any national consensus.”

Professor Boston said the University was the ideal host for the conference, not only because it had a strong environmental studies research programme, but it also had a strong relationship with key government and research organisations.

“It is a university’s role to prompt debate on significant issues facing the community and to provide a venue and means to allow that debate to occur. As New Zealand’s capital city university, the home of Parliament, the Executive, government agencies, the diplomatic corps and the nation’s key research organisations, Victoria is perfectly placed to fulfil that role.”

Professor Boston said the conference was actively supported and sponsored by the New Zealand and British governments. Other supporters include the Royal Society of New Zealand, the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, the Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Climate Defence Network, a coalition of concerned non-governmental organisations.

A conference website, with full programme details and allowing online registration, will be available in mid-January from http://www.vuw.ac.nz/sog

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