The global loss of biodiversity, one of the two existential threats to humanity along with climate change, will be under international scrutiny when Brisbane hosts the world’s leading conservation biology conference.

The International Congress for Conservation Biology is set to take place at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC) in 2025, showcasing Brisbane’s science excellence in conservation biology research to a global audience.

Home to almost every ecosystem in the world and with the second largest number of endemic species of any country, Australia ticks all the boxes.

As Australia’s most biodiverse capital city and a major hub for conservation biology research, Brisbane’s suitability to host the Congress is unrivalled.

The successful bid, supported by Australia’s scientific community was led by BCEC Advocate, and former Queensland Chief Scientist, Professor Hugh Possingham, in partnership with the team at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, together with Tourism and Events Queensland, Tourism Australia and Brisbane Economic Development Agency (BEDA).

Over 1,500 researchers and practitioners will attend the Congress, which will shine a light on the ground-breaking activity in key areas such as reef restoration on The Great Barrier Reef, special planning for renewable energy and First People’s knowledge for land and sea management.

With the environmental appeal and credentials of the destination, it is anticipated that many delegates will embark on pre and post touring, showcasing Queensland and Australia to the rest of the world.

The five-day event is set to deliver a $4.3M boost to the Queensland economy and is expected to galvanise interest among Australia’s scientific community as well as from the Asia Pacific, including New Guinea and other Pacific Island neighbours.

The Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, at the University of Queensland, Hugh Possingham says Queensland is where the critical mass of conservation biology research is based, with James Cook University and the University of Queensland regularly ranking in the top 10 for environmental, ecological and conservation research globally.

“Hosting the Congress in Australia is an opportunity to create real change through an interdisciplinary approach to solving our conservation biology issues, bringing together ecologists, geographers, social scientists, economists and policy makers to create scalable solutions.”

Dr Micha Jackson, President of the Society of Conservation Biology Oceania, local host association, believes highlighting the importance of conservation to a wider audience is a way to greater understanding of the issues we face and the team hopes to do that through staging ‘science in the pub’ nights to generate public debate during the Congress.

Among the other key legacies being proposed is providing the opportunity for delegates to offset their carbon footprint by working with the Queensland Trust for Nature to set up a designated program enabling delegates to donate directly to a fund for creating new habitats for koalas.

Biodiversity is important for the survival of humanity and Hugh Possingham believes the threat to Australia’s wildlife is more prevalent than ever; cutting edge research is part of stopping the mass extinction we are witnessing.

BCEC General Manager, Kym Guesdon welcomed the announcement, saying it recognises Brisbane’s environmental credentials and reputation as a sustainable conference destination.

“At the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre we continually strive to initiate and deliver better outcomes for our community, clients and the environment. Hosting the world’s leading conservation biology conference aligns with ASM Global ACTS, a program which aims to Invest in People, Protect the Environment and Strengthen our Communities.

This high-profile international environmental congress will enhance the city’s credentials enroute to hosting the world’s first carbon neutral and biodiversity neutral Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Tourism Australia Managing Director, Phillipa Harrison, said securing the bid to host ICCB 2025, with support of the Business Events Bid Fund program, was a great outcome for the host city and Australia.

“Australia has a world-class offering and through the Business Events Bid Fund Program we are so pleased to be supporting the sector in building a pipeline of future Business Events to Australia,” Ms Harrison said.

“Events such as ICCB deliver significant benefits to our visitor economy and we look forward to welcoming these delegates to Brisbane for this important congress.”

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said Brisbane’s clean and green reputation made it the perfect destination to host the world-leading conservation conference.

“Brisbane is one of Australia’s greenest cities and the most biodiverse capital city in Australia, globally recognised for our natural environment and bold strides in sustainability,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Home to the brightest minds, cutting-edge innovation and a collaborative business environment, Brisbane is also one of the most business-friendly cities in the world.

“Brisbane provides the ultimate experience for delegates to enjoy year-round sunshine, breathtaking natural wonders, authentic First Nations experiences and an acclaimed arts, culture and dining scene.”

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