New Zealand and the UN

New Zealand was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and has been an active member over the last 70 years in the areas of human rights, development assistance, economic and environmental affairs, and peace and security. As global issues becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, countries need to develop global solutions to regional problems and challenges. New Zealand is firmly committed to effective global cooperation, and engaging with the UN multilateral system has always been a keystone of New Zealand’s foreign policy.

Our contribution to peace and security

Since the end of the Second World War New Zealand has contributed to peace and security operations in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Korean Peninsula, the South Pacific, and the Caribbean. New Zealand also supports international security through counter-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean. New Zealand’s contribution has included New Zealand Defence Force (all elements – Army, Navy and Air Force), New Zealand Police, Department of Corrections, and specialist staff from other agencies. Notable missions include East Timor, Bosnia, Cambodia, Namibia, UNTSO, Solomon Islands, and Afghanistan as a UN authorised mission.


Our contribution to development

New Zealand’s investments in United Nations development and humanitarian agencies supports developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to respond effectively to natural disasters and con ict. These agencies can provide specialist knowledge and skills to help countries meet their development needs, and achieve results in complex or sensitive situations where it is more difficult for New Zealand to work bilaterally.

New Zealand provides approximately NZ$53 million each year in voluntary core funding to United Nations agencies. This includes annual core contributions of $8 million to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and annual core contributions of $6 million to each of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF); World Food Programme (WFP); United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). Other agencies receiving core funding include: Of ce of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); UN Women; United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS); International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

In addition New Zealand provides about NZ$33 million for speci c programmes delivered by United Nations agencies, including parliamentary strengthening in the Paci c and demining in Lao (UNDP); early childhood education in Indonesia; water and sanitation in the Pacific (UNICEF); and humanitarian response in South Sudan and Somalia (WFP).

New Zealand also provides annual contributions to speci c United Nations agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO); World Health Organisation (WHO); and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


Our contribution in the area of human rights

New Zealand takes our international human rights obligations seriously. We regularly engage on human rights issues at the UN to demonstrate our commitment to upholding international law and standards. Our work includes actively participating in meetings of the two core human rights bodies of the UN – the Human Rights Council in Geneva and the General Assembly’s Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee in New York (known as the Third Committee).

We prioritise our human rights engagement on issues of importance to New Zealanders, and on initiatives that strengthen the global rules-based system. These include the rights of persons with disabilities, abolition of the death penalty, gender equality, and freedom of expression, alongside other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. New Zealand also actively engages in human rights discussions on country situations where there are issues of concern, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region.


New Zealand on the United Nations Security Council 2015-2016

New Zealand commenced a two year term as an elected member of the UN Security Council on 1 January 2015. Over the 2015-2016 term, the Security Council considered and responded to the most pressing threats to international peace and security.

New Zealand also worked to ensure that all states, including small states, received a fair hearing, and that the transparency, inclusiveness and responsiveness of the council is improved.


The future of New Zealand’s role in the UN

New Zealand expects to continue to play an active role in the United Nations in order to ensure that international rules and institutions are respected and strengthened, and to protect and progress the interests of New Zealand and the Pacific region. New Zealand supports the UN reform agenda as part of efforts to improve effectiveness and relevance, particularly for small states like those in the Pacific. There will be an increasing focus on implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. New Zealand expects to continue to be active across a range of thematic areas, including: human rights; peace and security; disarmament and non-proliferation; climate change, oceans and the environment; international law, and; humanitarian assistance.

Sustainable Development Goals 

New Zealand is committed to making progress towards the United Nations 2030 agenda. You can read New Zealand's National Voluntary Review on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals here


Download our factsheet on New Zealand’s contribution to the United Nations.