Date & Time: 
Tuesday 17 November 2015

The Challenge of Change Lecture Series presented by Ambassador Peter Woolcott, Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment

Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott will speak about the expectations and the challenges of working in partnership with other countries on the environment.

Peter Woolcott will discuss the dramatic changes to the international system as a consequence of the diffusion of power and the emergence of states and entities. These changes are challenging both the existing institutional arrangements and the old way of doing business.

As a consequence, decision making has become more complex at a time when we need the system to work effectively. Mr Woolcott will draw on his experience as Australia’s lead negotiator in the climate change negotiations which aim to produce a new global agreement in Paris later this year at the conference of the parties (COP21).

He will also discuss the world heritage system and his role in coordinating the Australian Government’s response to the threat of an “in danger” listing of the Great Barrier Reef.


Mr Woolcott is a senior career officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He was most recently Australia’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva and to the Conference on Disarmament. Prior to this, he was Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues, Ambassador in Rome and Permanent Representative to the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization. Mr Woolcott has also served in Jakarta, Honolulu, Manila, Buenos Aires and Kingston.

Mr Woolcott has also held senior positions in Canberra, including as First Assistant Secretary, South East Asia Division, and as Chief of Staff to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (2002–04).

Mr Woolcott holds Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts degrees from the Australian National University, and a Master of Arts degree from Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

Mr Woolcott commenced his appointment in November 2014.

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