IUCN NZ Biodiversity Offsets

NZ IUCN Symposium on Biodiversity Offsets

Good Practice Guidance

Biodiversity continues to decline in Aotearoa and worldwide. A method that is increasingly being used by governments and companies to mitigate impacts from development projects is the offsetting of biodiversity losses in one area with biodiversity gains in another area.

IUCN Good Practice Guidelines

Such biodiversity offsets may enhance conservation in some areas but many risks have been identified with their use - IUCN website includes some links.

There is urgent need for authoritative guidance that can help conservation organisations, governments and companies agree on the relevant risks, opportunities and uses of biodiversity offsets. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has recently released a draft proposed policy on Biodiversity Offsets in order to fill this gap.  A copy of the ECO Submission on this proposed policy can be downloaded here.

This symposium introduced the  IUCN proposal for  a  BiodiversityBiodiversity Panelists Offsets Policy and provide expert commentary on the proposal as well as on biodiversity offsets in general. There were five speakers with a range of perspectives and types of expertise, plus time for discussion.

The workshop was held on 11 September, 2pm-4:30 p.m at the Kamala Room at the Wellington Zoo.

Programme and presentations

2:00 Catherine Iorns, Introduction
2:05  Andrew Bignell, The IUCN Proposal for a Biodiversity Offsetting Guidance
2:30  Laurence Barea, Good Practice Biodiversity Offsetting in New Zealand
2:55 Marie Brown, Securing Exchanges – The End of Biodiversity Offsets
3:20  Toni Love, Considerations of Maori Cosmology and Culture
3:40 Geoff Keey, We Don't Barter or Offset our Children
4-4:30 Discussion

Speakers Bios

Catherine Iorns

Catherin Irons introducing the workshop

Catherine Iorns Magallanes is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Law at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand, where she researches, writes and teaches on environmental law, indigenous rights, and statutory interpretation. Ms Iorns is also a national board member of Amnesty International Aotearoa New Zealand and of 350 Aotearoa. She is a member of the International Law Association Committee on the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a member of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law, and she holds an LLM from Yale University. Email: Catherine.iorns@vuw.ac.nz


Andrew Bignell

Strategic Partnerships Manager, Department of Conservation, Wellington.Andrew Bignell DoC talking about the IUCN Biodiversity Offsets Proposal

Andrew has studied and worked in the natural resource space for his entire career. Currently employed by the Department of Conservation, he has two roles – leading the department’s engagement in international affairs and assisting with liaison between the department and the science and research community. Andrew has been engaged in IUCN matters for many years both as a member of WCPA and as the Department’s representative on the New Zealand Committee of IUCN.     He has been Chair of the New Zealand Committee and participated in the work of IUCN in the Oceania.  He is currently a first term Councillor. Email: Abignell@doc.govt.nz



Laurence Barea

Laurence Barea holds both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Waikato and a PhD in Terrestrial Ecology from Charles Sturt University, NSW, Australia. Over the last 20 years his career has focussed on biodiversity management across both public and private sectors. Before taking up his current role as Technical Advisor Ecology (Biodiversity Offsets) with the Department of Conservation he was a Senior Environmental Consultant with Golder Associates (NZ and Canada) Limited. Prior to that he held the role as the Waikato Conservancy Advisory Scientist for the Department of Conservation, a role he took up on completing his Doctoral Research in Australia. Between 2000 and 2004 he worked as a consulting wildlife biologist in Boise, Idaho employed on a range of development projects across the Pacific Northwest of the United States before moving to Australia to undertake his PhD. He is currently involved in a technical capacity advising the Department of Conservation with respect to biodiversity offsets, their development and assessment in context with the New Zealand Government’s Good Practice Guidance.

Email: lbarea@doc.govt.nz

Marie Brown


Dr Marie Brown, SENIOR POLICY ANALYST, Environmental Defence Society, BSc, PGDipSci, MEnvLS (Hons), PhD (Waikato)Marie Brown

Marie is the Senior Policy Analyst for EDS, specialising in biodiversity policy. She holds degrees in science and environmental law and a PhD from the University of Waikato that focussed on the use of ecological compensation under the RMA. Marie has worked in the fields of RMA compliance monitoring and natural environment policy and has a keen interest in effective environmental governance. Marie is the lead author of EDS's recent book, Vanishing Nature: facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis. Marie’s present work focusses on managing the impacts of development on biodiversity, investigating innovative strategies and tools to improve outcomes for nature. Email: marie@eds.org.nz

Toni Love

Toni Love is in her penultimate year of her conjoint degree in Law and Science at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Her areas of interest include environmental law, indigenous rights, and the use of indigenous principles in conservation and restoration. Toni is currently researching fresh water policy and legislation as part of an independent research topic for her law degree, and is analysing its effectiveness in relation to a stream of cultural significance. She is the president of the Society for Conservation Biology, University of Wellington Chapter, which facilitates community conservation in Wellington; and she is also the Secretariat on the Harbour Island’s Kaitiaki Board, which is a co-governance arrangement. Email: tonilove13@msn.com


GeoGeoff Keey and Andrew Bignellff Keey

Geoff Keey is a Contractor on Climate Change to Forest & Bird. He studied Environmental Economics and Public Policy at Victoria University of Wellington and, in addition to Forest & Bird, has previously worked for Greenpeace, Antarctic Ocean Alliance, and the Green Party.  Email: Geoff.Keey@gmail.com