Defence Climate Change Implementation Plan released

  • Hon Ron Mark
  • Hon James Shaw
Climate Change Defence

Minister of Defence Ron Mark and Minister for Climate Change James Shaw have announced the release of a Defence Climate Change Implementation Work Plan, titled Responding to the Climate Crisis: An Implementation Plan.

The plan sets out a series of recommendations based on the 2018 New Zealand Defence Assessment, The Climate Crisis: Defence Readiness and Responsibilities, released last December.

In support of the wider New Zealand Government work programme on climate change, the Ministry of Defence and the New Zealand Defence Force have encouraged Defence forces to consider what effect climate change will have on their activities. This includes recognising the potential of climate change to increase the need for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, as a well as the potential to present security risks.

“The impacts of climate change continue to intensify globally, and in our region, exacerbating a range of human security challenges, including community violence, biosecurity and health implications, and resource scarcity—notably around food and water shortages,” says Ron Mark.

Drawing from the 2018 recommendations, the two Defence agencies have developed a four pillar model outlined in the plan – Respond, Adapt, Mitigate and Engage – to capture the recommendations and advance Defence’s work on climate change.

“This work plan marks the beginning of Defence’s journey to better respond to the increasingly complex impacts of climate change. It outlines both current work commitments, including for the 2020 calendar year, as well as next steps for further work with the view of growing best practice over time,”

Preparing for and responding to the intensifying impacts of climate change in the Pacific are key components of the Coalition Government’s defence policy as outlined in the Strategic Defence Policy Statement 2018.

The Defence Capability Plan 2019 released in June also demonstrated how Defence is striving to be a reliable and responsive partner in facing this challenge, by outlining range of investments critical to enhancing our ability to respond in the Pacific. These include enhanced sealift and airlift capabilities, improved aerial surveillance and maritime domain awareness, as well as increasing the size of the New Zealand Army.

“Defence plays a key role in supporting the Government to respond and enhance its understanding of the security implications of climate change.” says Ron Mark.

“Following on from the 2018 Climate Change Defence Assessment, this implementation plan is another important addition to the work underway to both mitigate and adapt to climate change,” says James Shaw.

“The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act in November was a crucial milestone to help ensure a safer planet for future generations,”

“Climate change is challenging our region and Defence has positioned itself to be able to support the Government in responding to the impacts of climate change as they arise,”

“Some of the countries most vulnerable to climate change are also the least well equipped to respond to its worsening impacts. New Zealand needs to be ready to play its part by ensuring humanitarian support is available when it’s needed,” says James Shaw.

The Implementation Plan was co-produced by the New Zealand Defence Force and Ministry of Defence, and can be found online here: