Global sustainability conference heads to NZ

The "very important" event will highlight the plight of the South Pacific to the rest of the world.

New Zealand has secured a global sustainability conference on coral reefs, in a major coup for the country.

The International Coral Reef Society’s Symposium will be held in Auckland in 2025, bringing together around 2,500 experts to highlight the plight of the South Pacific to the rest of the world.

Tourism New Zealand and Auckland Convention Bureau worked alongside Victoria University of Wellington, the University of Auckland and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Fijian office to secure the event, winning out over other nations such as Italy.

Victoria University Professor of Marine Biology Simon Davy clarified, while New Zealand does not have coral reefs, it does have coral communities, for example around the Kermadec Islands.

He says there currently not enough information about how these coral communities might be affected by climate change, an issue that is set to be discussed during the sustainability conference.

Top scientists, environmental managers, conservationists will also look a the impacts of global warming and the resulting socio-economic impacts for regions that depend heavily on coral reefs, such as New Zealand’s neighbours in the South Pacific.

Davy said there is little time to act, which makes events such as these “extremely important”.

“I’m thrilled that New Zealand will host this significant conference, allowing us to both promote research and conservation in the South Pacific, and contribute to global efforts in a meaningful way,” he said.

Tourism New Zealand global manager, business events Lisa Gardiner said the event is a boost for the events sector, estimated to contribute NZ$6 million to the economy.

“We are proud to be working in partnership with the Pacific, an area that due to its remoteness is often forgotten, despite the fact that its reefs are under considerable threat,” she said.

“It’s a real boost for the sector as we head into 2021 that we’ve got a number of great conferences in the pipeline.

“We are forging ahead to keep New Zealand an attractive place to host business events so the industry can keep staff employed and keep these high value visitors coming to New Zealand.”

New Zealand’s inclusive approach, focus on Māori culture and natural environment were highlighted as top reasons for the bid win.

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