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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 30, 2007

The United States and New Zealand Pledge To Advance Science Partnership

The following is the text of a joint press statement issued at the conclusion of the United States – New Zealand Inaugural Joint Commission Meeting on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

On October 29, 2007, the United States and New Zealand held their inaugural Joint Commission Meeting on Scientific and Technological Cooperation. The goal of the meeting was to identify opportunities to intensify cooperation in ways that would support the development of both parties’ competitiveness and economic sustainability.

Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky opened the meeting, with Dr. Arden Bement, Director of the National Science Foundation serving as chair of the 28-member U.S. delegation, which included representatives from the Department of Energy, Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, National Institutes of Health, Smithsonian Institution, and the State Department.

Setting the tone for productive dialogue, Under Secretary Dobriansky said, “The United States and New Zealand have a long history of strong diplomatic ties drawing, in part, on a dense network of institutional associations in the area of science and technology. By bringing together the best minds from New Zealand, the United States, and the broader international community, we can innovate and create new solutions to 21st century challenges.”

The 17-member New Zealand delegation was led by the Honorable Steve Maharey, Minister of the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology, and included Ministry of Research, Science and Technology Chief Executive Dr. Helen Anderson as well as specialists in geosciences, environmental science, sustainable development, scientific research and innovation, and health research. New Zealand Ambassador Roy Ferguson also attended the meeting.

Minister Maharey, commenting on the importance of the inaugural Joint Commission Meeting said, “The United States is the world’s leader for scientific research and development. New Zealand’s expertise in environment and agricultural sciences is well recognized. Continued scientific collaboration is important not only for both countries but also to solving important international issues.”

The meeting demonstrated the depth of scientific collaboration between the two countries. During the past 50 years, the U.S. and New Zealand have worked together to protect Antarctica as a continent of peace and science; partnered on Antarctic logistics and research; cooperated on agricultural research and food safety; developed international consortia on cattle and sheep genome sequencing; expanded geosciences knowledge; improved biomedical, behavioral and public health research; and advanced biodiversity research.

In addition to these areas, the parties agreed to further scientific and technological research data management and informatics, environmental and energy sustainability, and climate change sciences. The parties also identified opportunities to partner in the development of energy prototypes. For example, an early opportunity exists to demonstrate the potential of cellulosic biofuels.

Today’s review confirms a renewed commitment by both countries to take stock of the current bilateral science partnership and identify ways to expand and intensify cooperation. The parties signed a Science & Technology cooperation agreement in 1974, which was renewed in 1991. The New Zealand government extended an invitation to the United States at this meeting to review progress in two years time.


Released on October 30, 2007

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