This page provides information on the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992 which was ratified on 8 September 1993, and the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which New Zealand ratified on 24 February 2005.
About the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) develops a global response to stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere.
The primary objective of the UNFCCC is to achieve stabilisation of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.
UNFCCC commitments made by New Zealand along with other developed country parties (referred to as Annex I Parties) include:
- adopt national policies to mitigate climate change through limiting anthropogenic (human-induced) emissions of greenhouse gases and protecting and enhancing our greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs
- report detailed information on greenhouse gas inventories, national actions and projected human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks, according to timeframes set in the UNFCCC
- take into account climate change considerations, in relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions
- promote, and cooperate in, relevant scientific and technological research and exchange information in such areas (including transferring technology to developing countries)
- provide additional financial resources to meet the agreed full costs incurred by developing countries in complying with their obligations under the UNFCCC
- promote public awareness of, and education about, climate change issues.
The international community recognised that more urgent action, with more powerful and legally binding measures than what was required under the UNFCCC, was needed. Negotiations on a subsidiary agreement under the UNFCCC, now known as the Kyoto Protocol, began in 1995. The Kyoto Protocol came into force in 2005 after 55 countries ratified it (including those responsible for 55 per cent of global emissions).
Find out more
For more information on New Zealand's obligations under the the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol see the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change web page in our climate change section.