Christchurch secures international wetlands conference


Christchurch has won a bid to host a prestigious international conference on wetland conservation.

The 11th Intecol International Wetlands conference will be held in 2020, and is tipped to attract around 1,000 academics, researchers and experts from around the world to discuss best practice in wetland research and management.

Local ecologist and wetland expert, Dr Philippe Gerbeaux from the Department of Conservation’s Freshwater team was one of driving forces behind bringing the event, held every four years under the umbrella of the International Association for Ecology (Intecol), to Christchurch, after being asked by the co-chairs of the Intecol Wetlands Working Group whether New Zealand would be interested to host the 2020 conference.

Dr Gerbeaux says this new event is reflective of Christchurch’s growing reputation as a great host city.

“The theme that was accepted for the conference – traditional knowledge and innovative science in wetland research and management – reflects the high regard the international science community for New Zealand’s Mātauranga Māori approach, which underpins our policy, science and management needs,” he says.

Bringing experts from all around the world will generate some good discussions and outcomes on sustainability practices for our existing wetlands and how to re-develop wetland areas where they can protect us against floods and pollution.”

“The event committee is committed to make this future event a successful one for Iwi, Christchurch City and the Canterbury Region, but also for the whole New Zealand wetland research and management community,” Dr Gerbeaux says.

ChristchurchNZ, the region’s economic development, tourism and major events agency, and Tourism New Zealand Business Events supported Dr Gerbeaux to produce the winning bid to host the 11th Intecol International Wetlands Conference.

Tourism New Zealand’s Business Events and Premium Manager Lisa Gardiner says, “In addition to the economic benefits international conferences deliver to New Zealand, they also showcase our expert sector knowledge to a global audience and help spread visitation across the year by attracting visitors outside of peak season.”

ChristchurchNZ’s Convention Bureau Manager Caroline Blanchfield says Christchurch is the perfect destination to host such a prestigious and ecologically significant event.

“This highly acclaimed international conference is another fantastic win for Christchurch and further cements our position as a sought-after conference destination,” Ms Blanchfield says.

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