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New Zealand to Host Major Environment Forum

17 December 2004

New Zealand to Host Major Environment Forum

More than 300 environmental specialists are expected to converge in Christchurch in March for the largest Australasian environmental management event to be held in New Zealand.

The Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ) event will be the first in New Zealand to bring together experts in a wide range of disciplines for a cross-pollination of ideas, says conference chairman Leo Fietje. A programme of topics has been devised to reflect the extremely broad range of skills and disciplines that contribute to understanding environmental issues and providing appropriate planning and management.

“We’re delighted to have the opportunity to host so many environmental professionals from both sides of the Tasman,” says Mr Fietje. “For New Zealand practitioners this is a chance to compare notes with our counterparts in Australia and showcase our best work, while learning from the application of different approaches, policies and technologies by our closest neighbours.”

Keynote speakers will include Her Excellency the Governor-General of New Zealand, The Honourable Dame Silvia Cartwright, and former Australian Humanist of the Year, Ian Rowe, a specialist in application of science in environmental policy. They will be joined by Dr Nicholas Fleming on sustainable urban development, water management and infrastructure; and Mark Pizey, leader of an award winning environmental management programme for the State-owned mining company Solid Energy.

Concurrent sessions will explore case studies in resource management, environmental management systems; integrated planning and systems-thinking; environmental assessment and reporting; and communication and environmental education. Field trips and technical tours will include the Living Streams restoration programme, a Maori perspective of resource management at Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere; the Kowhai Organic Farm at Lincoln University and ecosystem protection in Canterbury’s braided rivers.

EIANZ is Australasia’s major professional group for environmental practitioners of all disciplines – from engineers and scientists to legal specialists, planners, educators and hundreds of staff in regulatory bodies.

Mr Fietje says the content and size of the conference reflects the increasing professionalisation of environmental management. EIANZ’s membership has grown to more than 2000 with several hundred members in the New Zealand branch, established two years ago.

The conference will also be an opportunity to promote the new EIANZ certification programme. Certification aims to demonstrate to employers, clients, professional associates and the community at large that the practitioner’s skills and knowledge meet international standards. Applicants for the qualification of CEnvP are required to have appropriate environmental qualifications, five years of relevant environmental experience and three referees. Applicant must also appear before and be interviewed by a certification panel.

Footnote: The EIANZ conference will be run in accordance with an environmental policy to minimise environmental impact. The conference venue will provide natural light as much as possible. Food will be locally sourced and seasonal and there will be facilities for recycling. Delegates can make their travel carbon-neutral by paying a CO2 carbon offset charge ranging from $3 to $26. These funds will be used for regeneration of native forest through the EBEX21 emissions exchange programme.


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