NZ stands with Vanuatu on Climate at UN


New Zealand is welcoming a decision by the United Nations General Assembly to ask the International Court of Justice to consider countries’ international legal obligations on climate change.

The United Nations has voted unanimously to adopt a resolution led by Vanuatu to ask the ICJ for an advisory opinion on states’ climate change obligations.

“This decision has the potential to change the landscape,” Climate Minister James Shaw said.

“New Zealand was a co-sponsor of this initiative when Vanuatu took it to international climate change negotiations in December. I am pleased to stand alongside Vanuatu because not every country has the ability or resources to go to go forums like that and be heard.

“Like New Zealand, Vanuatu has been hit by devastating cyclones and storms this year. For all our sakes, we must cut climate pollution so things don’t get even worse.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who is in Vanuatu and last night joined locals and representatives of other governments at a concert to mark the UN decision, said climate change is a critical area of New Zealand’s co-operation with Vanuatu.

“Our partnership with Vanuatu is built on whanaungatanga (close connections), painga kotahi (mutual benefit) and friendship,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Amplifying the Pacific voice and the impact of climate change on Pacific peoples is a key priority for New Zealand.”

Meanwhile, the New Zealand and Vanuatu governments have inked the first-ever cooperation agreement between the two countries.

The Mauri Statement of Partnership agreement was signed by Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her counterpart Jotham Napat in Port Vila on Thursday.

The deal will see the New Zealand government provide almost NZ$38 million (US$23 million) as part of its commitment to assist Vanuatu – with the money going towards climate change resilience projects, general budget support, and the tourism sector.

Mahuta said supporting Pacific resilience remains a top priority for Aotearoa.

She said New Zealand is committed to funding a number of projects for Vanuatu to reduce its climate vulnerability.