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Program

We live in the critical decade. All planetary indicators point to the collapse of our climate and environmental systems with catastrophic consequences. Millions of people are demanding change, but vested interests with power and money are actively working against the common good. In this defining decade, how can we amplify these voices for good and neutralise the bad; fund big change and shift systems (with incremental change now too small an ask); supercharge partnerships with civil society, governments and business; deploy the most effective funding mechanisms; and identify the pivotal issues to fund? For nature and climate, it’s time for big steps and bold ambition.

An overview of the pre-conference events and full conference program are available below. Speakers are currently being finalised and will be announced as they are confirmed.

Virtual passes are available for Day 1 and Day 2 of the conference, the applicable sessions are noted in the program below.

Tuesday 30 April

TimeSessionDetails
9am – 1pmWorkshop (ticketed separately)Advocacy in action: tips and tools for using your power and influence to save the world. More info 

Speakers
Adam Verwey
Greg Foyster
Dr Joan Staples
Isabelle Reinecke
Sue McKinnon
2pm – 5pmWorkshop (ticketed separately)The wisdom of women: inner work for effective action. More info

Facilitators
Hayley Morris
Marike Knight
Lucy Richards
2pm – 5pmWorkshop (ticketed separately)Funding with trust, humility and cultural awareness: shift your First Nations funding to the next level. More info
Facilitators
Mary Harm
Tishiko King
6pm – 8pmNetworking drinks (included in conference ticket)Join us at Free to Feed (205-211 Queens Parade, Fitzroy North VIC 3068) for drinks, nibbles and fascinating conversations with AEGN members and friends. You are welcome to bring along guests who may be interested in joining the AEGN (just register them via the Humantix ticketing link).

Wednesday 1 May

TimeSessionTopic
8.00am – 8.45amRegistrationSign in and get ready for the day
8.45am – 9.00amWelcome to CountryHear from a local Elder
9.00am – 9.15amConference openingMC remarks and context setting
9.15am – 10.30amInterview and panel discussionCatalysing a green revolution: philanthropy’s pivotal role in championing climate and nature legislation for lasting change (virtual pass)

Baroness Bryony Worthington has been at the forefront of leading the UK’s response to climate change and deployed philanthropy to shift hearts and minds at the Quadrature Climate Foundation. In this session, Bryony shares her insights on championing climate and nature policy and legislation, outlining philanthropy’s pivotal role, and is joined by Australian sector leaders to apply these insights within the Australian context.

Speakers
Baroness Bryony Worthington
Daniel Sherrell – Senior Adviser on Climate and Energy at ACTU
Leslie White – Director, Lockslie Pty Ltd
Martijn Wilder AM – Founder and CEO of Pollination
Moderator: Nicky Ison – Head of Direct Advocacy at Boundless Earth
10.30am – 11.15amMORNING TEALight refreshments and networking
11.15am -12.30pmKeynote and panelMarkets aren’t going away – so could it be possible to have a nature-positive Big Mac?

Can market-based mechanisms play a role in achieving a future where carbon is removed from the atmosphere and biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used to sustain a healthy planet for all? How do we ensure they work to drive emissions reductions and protect nature? What’s working and what’s not working and what can philanthropy do to ensure the best outcomes?

Speaker
Dr Ken Henry AC
Professor Karen Hussey – Chair of the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee
Moderator: Hayley Morris
12.30pm – 2.00pmLUNCHCatch up with other members and recharge over a delicious meal.
2.00pm – 2.15pmCultural connectionsNeda Rahmani (from Cat Empire), afro-brazilian drummer

Neda Rahmani’s percussion will transport us, grounding participants in the experiences shared throughout the morning with a rhythmic celebration of our journey together thus far.
2.15pm – 3.30pmAction sessionsChoose one:

Dynamic dialogues and expert insights in our advocacy powerhouse session
How do we change the system and change the story for nature and climate? Be part of a dynamic conversation exploring diverse and effective advocacy strategies, with experts focusing on successful campaigns, strategic planning and coalition-building.

Speakers
Alexandria Rantino – CEO of Climate 200
Kirsty Howey – Executive Director at Environment Centre Northern Territory
Mark Ogge – Principal Adviser at The Australia Institute
Moderator: Sue McKinnon

or

Right-site renewables: accelerating renewables for nature, climate and resilient communities
In the coming decades, billions of dollars will pour into regional Australia to develop the renewable energy infrastructure and minerals we need to act on climate change. Find out what’s happening on the ground to ensure this transformation is a genuine win for the environment, regional communities and First Nations people, as we explore philanthropy’s pivotal role in getting this work to scale.

Speakers
Andrew Bray – National Director of RE-Alliance
Chris Croker – First Nations Clean Energy Network
Moderator: Nicky Ison – Head of Direct Advocacy at Boundless Earth

or

Sustaining roots: funding First Nations organisations in a time of climate and environmental crisis
Solutions for achieving a safe climate and protecting nature must go hand in hand with First Nations communities to be successful, just and equitable. Explore what respectful and effective funding and engagement with First Nations organisations looks like and how it evolves. You’ll hear from First Nations communities and organisations at the forefront of gas development, ocean protection and climate change impacts and what they need from philanthropy to be successful.

Speakers
Beau Austin – Programme Manager at Full Circle Foundation
Jack Pascoe – Chief Councillor at Biodiversity Council
Joseph Sikulu – Pacific Regional Managing Director at 350.org
Larissa Baldwin-Roberts – CEO of GetUp
Moderator: Tishiko King
3.30pm – 4.00pmAFTERNOON TEALight refreshments and networking
4.00pm – 5.00pmPanel discussionIs it possible to feed the country, protect nature and deal with climate change?

Australia has signed up to the Global Biodiversity Framework, committing to protecting at least 30 per cent of our lands and oceans by 2030. Australia has also signed the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate action at the COP28 in Dubai. What do we need to do to achieve these goals and what is the role of philanthropy?

Speaker
Moderator: Dr Amanda Cahill – CEO of The Next Economy
Dr James Fitzsimons – Senior Advisor, Global Protection Strategies at The Nature Conservancy
Jade Miles – CEO of Sustainable Table
5.00pm – 5.30pmMember discussionThe AEGN is a network of members with a shared vision to protect nature and secure a safe climate. What’s our vision for the AEGN so that it thrives?
6.30pm – 9.30pmDINNERAn inspirational evening for connection, collaboration and delicious food (dinner is ticketed separately to the full conference program).

Thursday 2 May

TimeSessionTopic
8.15am – 9.00amRegistrationSign in and get ready for the second day
9.10am – 9.30amCultural connectionsJoel Havea and the Outlaw Ocean Project

Soulful Tongan/Dutch/Australian artist Joel Havea brings the mesmerising melodies of the Outlaw Ocean Project to welcome our morning. Immerse yourself in the rhythmic fusion of cultures and environmental storytelling, setting the tone for a day of inspiration and collective action.
9.30am – 10.15amKeynote and panelWeaving wisdom: why environmental justice is First Nations justice (Virtual Pass)

Leah Armstrong, a Torres Strait Islander and International Funders for Indigenous Peoples’ (IFIP) inaugural staff member in Australia, and Adrian Appo OAM, a Gooreng Gooreng man from South East Queensland and First Nations Lead with a large private philanthropic foundation, are both long-time leaders and champions for First Nations economic empowerment and self-determination. Join Leah and Adrian as they reflect on why First Nations justice and self-determination is critical in achieving a safe climate and thriving natural systems and the role for philanthropy in achieving this.

Speakers
Adrian Appo OAM
Leah Armstrong – Regional Manager at International Funders for Indigenous Peoples
10.15am – 11.05amKeynote and panelFacts over fiction: countering misinformation surrounding nature and climate (Virtual Pass)

Our expert panel delve into strategies for discerning fact from fiction, debunking myths and promoting accurate information to empower environmental advocates in their mission for a sustainable future. Join us to explore the role of philanthropy in fostering media literacy and countering misinformation for a more informed and engaged society.

Speakers
Peter Greste – Executive Director at The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom
Sharan Burrow AC
Moderator: Harriet McCallum – Executive Officer at Mannifera
11.05am – 11.30amMORNING TEALight refreshments and networking
11.30am – 12.45pmPanel discussionRevolutionising impact: unleashing philanthropy’s power for environmental and climate wins (virtual pass)

Decisions made in federal parliament are critical to securing a safe climate and protecting our natural environment and heritage. Join politicians from across the parliament as they discuss pathways and barriers to good policy, the role of philanthropy and how strategic partnerships can secure a nature-positive future.

Speakers
Honourable Tanya Plibersek MP, Minister for the Environment and Water
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young – Greens Spokesperson on Environment & Water
12.45pm – 2.00pmLUNCHEnjoy a meal and conversations with members
2.00pm – 2.15pmCultural connectionsIntergenerational climate dialogues – Marita and Teaote Davies share story and performance from Kiribati

In this intergenerational climate conversation between mother and daughter, Teaote and Marita Davies, give us the Kiribati perspective on environmental challenges, climate impacts, and the profound connection between culture and nature. This enchanting session weaves together storytelling and performance to foster a deeper understanding of the environmental narrative from the heart of Kiribati.
2.15pm – 3.50pmAction sessionsChoose one:

Better together: harnessing the power of collaboration and partnerships
There are many ways to collaborate; in this session, funders share their approaches, discussing the benefits, what’s working and why. What needs strategic and collaborative effort now? Experts from NGOs and philanthropy outline three big challenges we’re facing for nature, climate and sustainable food systems.

Speakers
Blair Palese
Dr James Fitzsimons – Senior Advisor, Global Protection Strategies at That Nature Conservancy
Jim Phillipson, Rendere Trustee and founding member of Nature Impact Collective Ltd
Sue McKinnon – Director of McKinnon Family Foundation


Empowering NGOs: unleashing full potential and identifying key capacities for success
The NGO sector is the powerhouse for change and strategic philanthropic funding can help transform what’s possible. In this discussion-based session, we ask sector leaders what they need from philanthropy to be as effective as possible. What are the critical funding gaps and how can funders further strengthen the organisations they already support?

Speakers
Moderator: Louise Arkles – Senior Program Manager at The Ian Potter Foundation
Charlie Wood – Senior Strategist, Social Movements at Sunrise
Dr Jody Gunn – CEO at Australian Land Conservation Alliance

Doing more with our capital
How can you use your investments to align with your philanthropic mission? How can you be a shareholder activist and how can you find investments that have a positive impact on the world? Hear from funders and investors who have tested these approaches and can give you guidance.

Speakers
Adam Verwey – Co-founder & CEO of Sustainable Investment Exchange
Susheela Peres da Costa – Principal at The Stewardship Centre
Moderator: Rachel Ball – CEO at Reichstein Foundation
3.50pm – 4.15pmCultural connectionsThe impact of generosity on wellbeing

Lawrence Patrick III, CEO of Wellbeing Outfit, explores the transformative power of generosity, examining how acts of giving positively can impact personal wellbeing. This experience will renew your energy and remind you of the profound connections between generosity, wellbeing and our greater environmental mission.

4.15pm – 4.45pmAFTERNOON TEANetworking and conference wrap-up