New Zealand is committed to combatting climate change. MFAT leads our international response to climate change through multilateral negotiations, our foreign policy and trade, and climate-related support.

Our role

We lead New Zealand's team of negotiators. The team meets regularly with counterparts from other countries to negotiate, and to discuss how to best implement the:

  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (the Convention)
  • Kyoto Protocol (the Protocol)
  • Paris Agreement

The Convention is the major foundation global treaty that deals with climate change.

Our negotiating team is made up of experts from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as from New Zealand’s:

  • Ministry for the Environment,
  • Ministry for Primary Industries,
  • and other government agencies.

We follow a negotiation strategy that is based on our unique national interests, and is agreed with the Minister for Climate Change.

What MFAT negotiators do

We represent New Zealand in the governance and decision making of the Convention, Protocol, and Paris Agreement, ensuring our interests are protected, because these agreements have an impact on our environment, trade and economy. Our work includes: 

  • attending Convention meetings and speaking on issues being decided
  • making submissions to the Convention and at other related forums
  • lobbying other countries

Negotiation principles and goals

  • We seek an outcome from the Paris Agreement work programme that respects both the letter and spirit of the outcome reached in Paris, as reflected in the Paris Agreement and COP decision 1/CP.21. All countries, both developed and developing, need to make legal commitments to reduce emissions. Together we need to work toward limiting global warming to a rise of 2 degrees above industrial levels. If we don’t do this, the costs of responding to climate change, eg building new and better infrastructure, recovering from cyclones and adapting to water shortages, will be much greater.
  • We seek to ensure that implementation of the Paris Agreement is founded on a rule-set applicable to all Parties in common while allowing sufficient flexibility to accommodate the different national circumstances and individual capabilities of all Parties.
  • We seek to ensure the rule-set for the Paris Agreement delivers an efficient and effective global ambition mechanism, which includes the 2018 Talanoa Dialogue and the five-yearly Global Stocktakes starting from 2023. We believe all countries need to provide transparent, accurate and regular national greenhouse gas inventories. These are the building blocks of effective action against climate change. New Zealand is recognised for the quality of our reporting and the calibre of experts we provide for the international review process. 
  • We support an efficient and accessible global carbon market underpinned by environmental integrity. While our priority is driving our transition to a low emissions future and achieving a significant amount of our target through reductions at home, having access to international carbon markets ensures that we will still meet our target and make a fair and ambitious contribution to the global effort even if our domestic reductions fall short.

Have your say on the international climate change negotiations

Tackling climate change is a priority for New Zealand. We are committed to contributing to the global response to this global challenge.

The Paris Agreement on climate change was agreed in 2015. Countries that signed up to the Agreement are now negotiating the guidelines for how to put it into practice.

We want to hear your views about what New Zealand should prioritise in these negotiations.

Public submissions on New Zealand’s approach are due by 3 April 2018. Click here for more detail.