February 2018

Pacific Climate Change Conference & associated events


Nowhere is climate change, and ocean change, a more urgent issue than across the Pacific, home to many low-lying island nations and sensitive to large swings in climate from year to year. This conference, hosted by Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) and SPREP*, will bring together a broad range of voices on climate change covering from the science to the laws, to the impacts on policy and public implications. Sir Geoffrey Palmer is the keynote speaker for the conference strand on Law.

Law Foundation is supporting bringing two indigenous keynote speakers from the Pacific who are well recognised in the areas of both legal practice and academic scholarship on indigenous rights and climate change:

Julian Aguon

Founder of Blue Ocean Law in Guam, will speak on the intersection between deep seabed mining, methane emissions and indigenous rights in the Pacific.

Kapua Sproat

Director of Environmental Law Clinic, Acting Director of the Ka Huli Ao Centre for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, and Associate Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaii. Professor Sproat’s presentation will address the question “As a matter of environmental justice for indigenous peoples, do state and local governments have an affirmative restorative justice obligation to address the deleterious impacts of global warming? If so, what does that obligation look like?

In addition to the conference a Public Lecture titled “Law as an Activism Strategy” will be given on Tues 20th Feb by Professor Sproat, Julian Aguon and Ani Mikaere 5.30pm at VUW’s Rutherford House, Lecture Theatre 1. They will talk about the role the law can play in addressing climate change and other pressing crises we face today.

About the conference
About Free Public Events – Public Lecture, 20th Feb and Conversation with Kim Hill and Dr Michael Mann, 22nd Feb

NZ Law Foundation has awarded up to $16,960 towards the costs of bringing speakers and preparing the conference publication

*Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme