Commonwealth Ministers Dialogue on Climate Change, resilience building and ocean action, United Nations, New York

Introductory remarks as Chair

This is an important and timely meeting. Here in New York the climate conversation has shifted from positions and negotiations, to action and ambition. The discussion about science and impacts and commitments is no longer controversial. Most of the world has now turned to action.  Many of us here have set our sights on 1.5 degrees, a goal which resonates so strongly in the Pacific region.  

We know what we have to do, but it can be difficult in practice. We Commonwealth members bring with us many different actions and solutions. Today we can all learn from each other how to go about turning commitments into reality. 

For New Zealand, turning commitments into quantifiable actions means locking commitments in for the long term. So we are establishing the architecture and institutions to ensure we have clear and stable climate change policies for the long term.  We’re doing this through a Zero Carbon Bill, which makes our 2050 plans consistent with a contribution to retaining warming under 1.5 degrees. Putting commitments in legislation give a strong signal to business and communities so they have the confidence to take bold decisions to combat climate change.

Success at COP26 is about being ready for the beginning of the Paris Agreement’s implementation.  All NDCs need to be starting implementation. Long-term plans will have been submitted by some countries, including mine.  And most importantly, success means much greater global ambition and action than we have seen to date. It’s Important too, that the attention to oceans and to nature-based solutions that has grown in recent years is playing its full part in climate ambition next year.