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New Zealand stands with Vanuatu on climate at UN

The United Nations voted unanimously to adopt a resolution led by Vanuatu to ask the ICJ for an advisory opinion on states’ climate change obligations.

The resolution tabled by Vanuatu and a core group of 17 countries, aims to clarify what the obligations of states are in protecting the rights of current and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change.

“This decision has the potential to change the landscape,” Climate Minister James Shaw said in a statement.

“New Zealand was a co-sponsor of this initiative when Vanuatu took it to international climate change negotiations in December. I am pleased to stand alongside Vanuatu because not every country has the ability or resources to go to go forums like that and be heard.

“Like New Zealand, Vanuatu has been hit by devastating cyclones and storms this year. For all our sakes, we must cut climate pollution so things don’t get even worse.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta, who is in Vanuatu and last night joined locals and representatives of other governments at a concert to mark the UN decision, said climate change is a critical area of New Zealand’s co-operation with Vanuatu.

“Our partnership with Vanuatu is built on whanaungatanga (close connections), painga kotahi (mutual benefit) and friendship,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“Amplifying the Pacific voice and the impact of climate change on Pacific peoples is a key priority for New Zealand.”

The ICJ will now prepare an advisory opinion that could be cited in climate court cases.

Photo Twitter/Nanaia Mahuta  Caption: Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta speaks at a climate justice event at Seafront, Port Vila last night.