We’re seeking submissions on New Zealand’s priorities in the international climate change negotiations

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.

The guidelines are due to be agreed at an important meeting in December 2018 in Poland - the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24). Although the COP24 is not until December, negotiations on the guidelines are already under way.

We would like to hear your views on the outcomes New Zealand should seek in these negotiations to help reach an outcome on the Paris Agreement guidelines that will balance all countries’ needs and priorities.

Below is some background information on some of the negotiating issues that have in the past been of interest to New Zealanders, together with some guiding questions. This does not represent the full range of negotiating issues, which can be viewed on the United Nations Climate Change website here (external link). Submitters are welcome to put forward ideas on all parts of the negotiations.

Public submissions are due by 3 April 2018.

This process is separate to consultation on the Zero Carbon Bill, which the Ministry for the Environment will begin in mid-2018.

Nationally Determined Contributions

Each country that signed up to the Paris Agreement has set a nationally determined contribution (NDC). New Zealand communicated its NDC in 2016. All countries will be required to revisit their NDCs by 2020. NDCs include targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Each country can choose how to reduce its own emissions. NDCs are not legally binding. Countries are currently negotiating over guidance on how they can define and show they are achieving their targets. Clear explanations of targets and clear reporting are essential to hold countries accountable and achieve the long-term temperature goals laid out in the Paris Agreement.


The Paris Agreement establishes a comprehensive transparency framework that applies to all countries. The details of how the framework will operate are currently being negotiated. The framework will require countries to report on actions taken to reduce emissions, as well as support for climate action (including financial, technology and capacity building – see below for more on this). Under the framework, countries’ reports will be reviewed by independent teams of experts, and then go through a process to monitor their individual progress.

The transparency framework is an essential part of the Paris Agreement. It will help hold countries accountable to each other for their actions and build confidence that all Parties are implementing their commitments.


Around half of New Zealand’s emissions come from agriculture, which contributes significantly to our economy. New Zealand has an opportunity in the international climate negotiations to encourage emission reductions from agriculture while supporting food security. Through the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (adopted in 2017) and other parts of the negotiations, we can encourage countries to take climate action on agriculture, including by improving the emissions efficiency of agricultural production.

Gender Action Plan

The Paris Agreement calls for countries, when taking climate action, to consider human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations, as well as gender equality and the empowerment of women. To implement this, in 2017 countries agreed on a Gender Action Plan. New Zealand has an opportunity to promote outcomes in the international climate negotiations that encourage and facilitate the participation of women in the process, including in leadership roles.

Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform

A Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform has been established as part of the international negotiations. New Zealand has an opportunity to advocate for how the Platform is structured and what it should focus on to enable indigenous peoples and local communities to exchange knowledge, and encourage countries to respect indigenous rights when they take climate action.

Climate finance

The Paris Agreement anticipates that financial resources will be provided for developing country climate action. New Zealand's climate-related support is provided via Overseas Development Assistance. New Zealand committed in 2015 to providing NZ$200 million over four years, most of which is benefiting the Pacific. 

The Paris Agreement’s transparency framework includes reporting on climate finance that countries provide or receive. The Agreement also anticipates developed country countries providing information on projected future support. The details of this are now being negotiated. New Zealand has an opportunity to help improve predictability and transparency of climate finance flows, consistent with countries’ national systems for tracking and reporting this information.

The Adaptation Fund was established under the Kyoto Protocol. It is important to Pacific Island and other developing countries as it is more easily accessed and better able to finance small projects compared to other climate funds. A decision will be reached this year on how the Fund will work under the Paris Agreement.

Carbon markets

The Paris Agreement recognises that some countries will cooperate to help achieve their NDCs and enable more global action on climate change. This cooperation is likely to occur through linking carbon markets (such as emission trading schemes) and other government-to-government arrangements, or through a new central system. New Zealand has an opportunity to help ensure that units traded in this way have environmental integrity and that cooperation between countries supports global efforts to reduce emissions.

Questions for submitters

  • What outcomes should NZ prioritise in 2018’s international negotiations on the Paris Agreement guidelines?
  • Are there issues we should consider less important than others in this year’s negotiations?
  • What other information or ideas would you like New Zealand officials to consider before this year’s negotiations?

Your feedback will be considered by our negotiators and summarised for Minister for Climate Change, Hon James Shaw. New Zealand’s negotiating mandate will be considered by Cabinet in mid-April ahead of the first negotiating session of 2018 in late April.

How to get in touch

  • Email: feedback@mfat.govt.nz
  • Mail: Coordinator, Climate Change Unit, Environment Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18-901, Wellington