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New Zealand and Commonwealth pledge to collaborate on climate change

27 March 2018

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on her first official visit to New Zealand. 

They spoke on a number of issues affecting the Commonwealth during their meeting at the executive wing of the Beehive, the parliament buildings, in Wellington today.

"New Zealand has been a staunch advocate of supporting small states in mitigating the impact of climate change," the Secretary-General said. "It was good to hear that the prime minister's support remains undiminished. We both acknowledged there was an existential and global threat and pledged to collaborate to help the Commonwealth family to mitigate and build resilience against climate change. 

"That will mean building back better when member states are affected by devastating hurricanes, as we saw in the Caribbean last year, mud slides in Sierra Leone, floods in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and the devastation of Cyclone Gita in Tonga, Fiji and Samoa."

The prime minister highlighted the plight of small states, especially in the Pacific, which were facing huge challenges caused by climate change.

During the meeting, Secretary-General Scotland and Prime Minister Ardern also discussed the Blue Economy and the Commonwealth Blue Charter, the principles for sustainable ocean development.

The Secretary-General said, "I was able to update the prime minister about next month's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM, in London. The theme of 'Towards a Common Future' has four main areas. 

"Prosperity by boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and making more of the Commonwealth Advantage; enhancing security through greater cooperation when it comes to tackling global terrorism, organised crime and cybercrime; by promoting greater diversity and good governance we become a more fairer Commonwealth; and of course sustainability will happen by building resilience among small, developing and vulnerable states to deal with climate change."

The Secretary-General also met the speaker of parliament and the leader of the opposition in separate meetings today.