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Joint Statement by New Zealand and the United States Following the Fifth Meeting Under the U.S.-New Zealand Bilateral Climate Change Partnership

Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Wellington, New Zealand
September 18, 2008

Officials and researchers from New Zealand and the United States met 15 September, 2008, in Wellington, New Zealand, to review progress and discuss future directions under the United States – New Zealand Bilateral Climate Change Partnership.

This fifth meeting of the Partnership reviewed the achievements and progress made in the joint climate change-related projects underway between partners in the two countries. A number of proposals relating to climate observations and reducing emissions from agriculture were agreed as new projects under the Partnership, and further proposals in these areas, as well as facilitating adaptation in the Pacific are under development. The meeting also celebrated the successful conclusion of a project on Capacity Building on Climate and Extreme Events for the Pacific, the ninth project completed under the Partnership.

The meeting also included a sharing of views and experiences in domestic approaches to climate change in the agriculture, forestry, and energy sectors, and also on international developments in climate change science, policy and development issues.

The discussions underscored the value to be gained from learning about each others’ domestic policy approaches and implementation. While recognising the differences in national circumstances between the two countries, a number of common challenges were identified. New Zealand and the United States also reaffirmed their commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations under the Bali Road Map. They agreed on the need for an effective post-2012 international framework, which should include action to reduce emissions by the major greenhouse gas emitting economies.

Dr. Shira Yoffe, Department of State, led the United States delegation. The United States delegation also included representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service, and Kansas State University. Ms. Stephanie Lee, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Ms. Helen Plume, Ministry for the Environment, led the New Zealand side.

During the visit, the United States delegation met with representatives from a number of New Zealand government agencies and organisations, including the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture and Forestry, Economic Development, Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Agency for International Development, the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority. In Wellington, the delegation visited with the National Institute for Water and Atmospherics, and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, and visited a wind farm in Makara. The visit concluded with meetings in Palmerston North, including at AgResearch and Landcare Research facilities, to discuss research into the measurement and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production.

Bilateral cooperation between New Zealand and the United States began in 2002, with the objective of enhancing and accelerating collaboration and practical cooperation on climate change issues. Since then, the United States and New Zealand have taken it in turns to host meetings of researchers and officials under the bilateral Partnership.

There are more than 35 ongoing and completed projects under the Partnership, clustered under nine priority areas: climate change science and monitoring; technology development; emission unit registries; greenhouse gas accounting in forestry and agriculture; engaging with business; developing country assistance; climate change research in Antarctica; public education initiatives; and development of joint product and process standards.

Projects under the Partnership started in 2003, with 26 projects launched during a visit to Wellington by a US delegation. Six new projects were added in July 2004 (during a meeting in Washington), three in July 2005 (in Wellington), and two in August 2006 (in Washington).

The sixth meeting under the bilateral partnership will be hosted in Washington in 2009.

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