Wednesday, April 17, 2024

University of Canterbury to host climate conference

An international climate adaptation conference is set to bring together the world’s top scientists, Indigenous scholars and policymakers in Ōtautahi Christchurch in 2025.

Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC) will host the 8th Adaptation Futures Conference (AF2025) in 2025, which is part of the United Nations World Adaptation Science Programme (WASP).

The conference will convene 1,500 of the world’s leading network of scientists, practitioners, governments, industry and community, youth, educators and communicators at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre. Delegates will join AF2025 online and in person to discuss climate adaptation.

WASP Chair Abdalah Mokssit announced the 2025 host at the Adaptation Futures conference in Montréal, Canada on Friday.

His announcement was followed by an official host handover led by representatives of the Indigenous People of Canada and mana whenua, Ngāi Tūāhuriri from New Zealand.

Chair of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Lisa Tumahai and Deputy High Commissioner of New Zealand to Canada, Kirsty Pelenur formally accepted the host handover of the conference. Tumahai acknowledged the vital role of inclusive approaches to climate-resilient development, which AF2025 will recognise by drawing on Indigenous and local knowledge and special relationships with mana whenua, to advance a fairer, more liveable, and sustainable future for all.  

UC Distinguished Professor Steven Ratuva and Professor Bronwyn Hayward and Professor Shaun Ogilvie played a vital role in securing the bid for this conference and are co-convenors of AF2025. 

The conference provides a unique opportunity to identify knowledge gaps and implementation needs to advance climate change adaptation in an increasingly complex world. 

“We look forward to hosting this important conference alongside our partners,” says UC Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey.

“As a university committed to engagement, we work closely with our communities and our cities to impact research-informed decision-making. With thought leadership, community engagement and strong partnerships, we can adapt to overcome challenges and create sustainable solutions for generations to come,” she says.

Tourism New Zealand Chief Executive René de Monchy says it is fantastic that Aotearoa New Zealand will play host to AF2025.

“1,500 delegates to our shores will get to enjoy our world-class conference facilities and experience our world-famous manaakitanga.”

“Aotearoa New Zealand’s tourism sector is committed to supporting the transition to a more sustainable and regenerative future. Events like these bring the best and brightest together to find climate-resilient solutions for our communities.

“Hosting conferences is a key part of Tourism New Zealand’s strategy to attract high-quality visitors who positively contribute to our environment, communities, culture and economy.”

The conference will implement eco-friendly practices, offering online participation and in-person participation. Te Pae Christchurch holds environmental Toitū Gold standard and New Zealand Qualmark accreditations.

Ali Adams, Chief Executive of ChristchurchNZ says, “I am delighted that Ōtautahi Christchurch will welcome the WASP community here in 2025. For a place deeply connected to the natural environment, we are thrilled that such future focused delegates will be able to experience all our revitalised city has to offer.”

“WASP’s critical work tackling the climate crisis aligns with Ōtautahi’s ambition to become a regenerative city that protects its natural resources, so this is an exciting partnership and a great step towards a future we collectively want to see, one that is good for the planet and people.”

AF2025 includes six special events to showcase and advance knowledge in:

• Indigenous innovation: Indigenous leadership and knowledge for transformation

• Cities: Climate-resilient development solutions for urban governments and communities

• Biodiversity and food: Ecosystem health and agricultural innovation for food-water-energy nexus

• Arts: The role of performance and creative arts for adaptation

• Youth: Global Talanoa connecting high-school students, teachers and young activists

• Capacity building: Early career development workshops for researchers and practitioners.

AF2025 is endorsed by mana whenua, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, with the support of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, along with a Scientific Steering Committee drawn from universities across Aotearoa New Zealand, regional partner institutions, and international organisations.

Find out more about AF2025 here.

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