Sunset with clouds
Image: Kim Westerskov | ©


DOC works collaboratively with other countries to ensure that links between climate change, biodiversity and ecosystems are considered and addressed.

New Zealand’s species and ecosystems are increasingly under threat from the effects of climate change.

Limiting future global warming to 1.5˚C will require a collective response by all nations, including New Zealand. Our indigenous ecosystems can play an important role as carbon sinks and reservoirs in combatting further climate change.

New Zealand’s lead agency negotiating the international response to climate change is the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Ministry for the Environment leads domestic climate change policy and implementation. The Ministry for Primary Industries provides advice on climate policy in relation to agriculture, forestry and fisheries. DOC provides expertise on New Zealand’s indigenous ecosystems.

International forums tackling climate change:

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

The UNFCCC was adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. As the international treaty, it provides the principal structure for negotiating agreements to tackle climate change and its impacts.

Under the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol was agreed to in 1997 after it became clear the existing provisions for emissions reduction in the Convention were inadequate. New Zealand is a party to the Kyoto Protocol.

Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement builds upon the UNFCCC and commits all countries to make ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects, and support developing countries’ efforts.

The Paris Agreement aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2˚C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5˚C.

The Paris Agreement requires all parties to put forward their best efforts through nationally determined contributions (NDCs), which must include mitigation, and to strengthen these efforts in the years ahead. Parties must strive to include all sources of emissions and removals in their mitigation commitments, and report regularly on their emissions and implementation efforts.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

This UN forum is the principle scientific body tasked with assessing climate change. New Zealand scientists are actively involved in the work of the IPCC both as panel members and as contributors of research papers.

Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer

The convention obliges parties to take appropriate measures to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects from the modification of the ozone layer. Includes the Montreal Protocol.

About New Zealand’s international climate change work

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