INTRODUCING ZSUZSA BANHALMI-ZAKAR…

20 JANUARY 2021

Making the Wet Tropics region and its communities more resilient to climate change is a goal of Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar.

Terrain NRM’s newest board director is an expert reviewer of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, a lecturer in environmental management and an advisor on increasing climate adaptation investment in Australia.

She sees major challenges ahead for the Wet Tropics region in relation to climate change, but also enormous potential in the sustainable finance and green project sectors.

“A lot of people visit our region as tourists, see the incredible biodiversity and potential for green initiatives and have a desire to help make a difference here – but they don’t necessarily know how,’’ she said.

“There is huge potential for climate-resilient and sustainable development goal-aligned initiatives, and bringing stakeholders together is an important way to lead this conversation.”

Dr Banhalmi-Zakar was a member of the Australian Sustainable Finance Initiative and contributed to Australia’s first sustainable finance roadmap released late last year. More locally, she is the Green Finance leader at James Cook University’s Agriculture Transformation Adoption Centre. She also co-leads a project to incentivise water quality improvements in the agriculture sector within the Great Barrier Reef catchment and is a member of the Australian Government’s ‘Blue Carbon Method Working Group’ which seeks to reward landholders for coastal and catchment restoration.

She moved to northern Australia four years ago and said joining the Terrain NRM Board was an exciting opportunity to make a difference in her home region.

“With Terrain’s focus on water quality improvements, climate adaptation, biodiversity, soil health gains and innovation, and its many projects working with landholders and community groups, there is a natural fit,’’ Dr Banhalmi-Zakar said.

“People are becoming more open to change and to trying new things to increase our resilience to natural perils. Environmental awareness is becoming more mainstream and climate change issues are being realised as core business issues.

“The private sector, and in particular financial institutions, are keen to invest in economically robust projects that meet sustainable development goals. In the next decade or so we will need all Wet Tropics stakeholders, landholders, communities, tourism and other business operators to keep an open mind and move beyond ‘business as usual’ to explore new financial solutions.”

Terrain NRM Board Chair Keith Noble has welcomed the board’s newest member.

“The Wet Tropics region is uniquely placed to build new industries and jobs around our rich world-recognised natural assets, and Terrain is excited by the perspective and experience that Dr Banlhalmi-Zakar brings to our board,’’ he said.

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