Online Seminar: Leveraging the Echo of the Global Stocktake

The online seminar held on 29 January 2024 discussed how to leverage the outputs of the Global Stocktake (GST) for more ambitious climate action. A discussion paper was presented and commented on by three discussants.

The online seminar consisted of a presentation of the discussion paper “How can the echo of the Global Stocktake be leveraged for enhanced climate action?”, responses by three discussants, and feedback from the audience in the form of a Mentimeter survey. The three discussants were Mariana Gutiérrez Grados (Iniciativa Climática de México, A.C), Manjana Milkoreit (University of Oslo) and Brian Mantlana (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)). The seminar is part of the project "Support for the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement" ( and was organized by Oeko-Institut, NewClimate Institute, Wuppertal Institute and DLR Projektträger in cooperation with the independent Global Stocktake (iGST) initiative.

The first Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement was concluded at COP28 in December 2023. The GST aimed to inform the upcoming policy process to develop new or enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs). The policy paper that was presented discusses various forms of communication on how to translate the GST outputs into ambitious climate action at national level. A video of the presentation of the paper is available here.

In the discussion it was pointed out that COP28 gave a first-time signal regarding the transition away from fossil fuels. The increased representation of fossil interests was seen as a sign that the UNFCCC process does matter; fossil interests are increasing their engagement because they expect that there will be a response to what the COP decides. However, it was also argued that other parts in the GST lacked clarity. There was for example no mandate to consolidate the Just Transition Work Programme, no ambitious plan for fossil fuel subsidies and no clarification on climate finance and the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG). It was also argued that there is a need to consider equity in the NDC process and that the focus should not be solely on mitigation.

It was questioned whether the NDC process can be compared to a national policy process. Policy processes look very different in different countries and NDCs are rather a synthesis of many ongoing policy and political processes. They are also reporting and foreign policy tools. So NDCs have a lot of dimensions that cannot be equated to a normal policy process and the paper may need to qualify how the NDC process differs from normal policy processes.

It was pointed out that national politics are a crucial factor for interpreting the GST and changing the NDC. The current political context is important for the messages and arguments. Moreover, a crucial question is who is responsible for interpreting and communicating about the GST. Scientists and civil society will not be sufficient. So how to establish responsibility for this process at national level? While the prime responsibility to organize national follow-up processes to the GST lies with national governments, in practice, not all governments might be aware of or willing to proactively assume this responsibility. Civil society and other actors could establish dedicated entities to work the GST results into national discussions.

As one example for how to engage, the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Hub of the iGST initiative has prepared an in-depth Regional Stocktake. This study synthesizes recent trends in climate action in the region including climate change mitigation, climate impacts and vulnerability and finance. These materials are a prime example of how domestic research and civil society organizations can support the contextualization of country performance and opportunities for enhanced climate action in light of collective international progress assessed by the GST. 

Two participants shared their perspective on the national level. For Norway it was noted that although the country was in favor of a stronger language regarding fossil fuels in the GST decision, there is still widespread support for the fossil industry among politicians domestically. As such, the Norwegian prime minister noted that while Norway supported global transitioning away from fossil fuels, the COP28 outcome mattered nothing for the Norwegian policy of producing oil and gas. The expectation is that transition will happen “naturally” through declining demand. There are no ideas for pro-active scaling down of production. Investments are actually still increasing instead of decreasing. Like in other countries, statements have been made by Norwegian politicians that the various options in paragraph 28 of the GST decision are seen as options, a menu you can pick and choose from.

For South Africa, it was pointed out that the country is quite successful in the inclusion of societal actors around the discussions of a just transition through its Presidential Climate Commission. It was also argued that business, labor or youth organizations could function as a messenger of more ambitious climate action. This example made clear that the involvement of different interest groups who are not necessarily like-minded along with a strong capability of the state can be key success factors for leveraging the echo of the GST at the country level.

Parallel to the discussion, a mentimeter survey was conducted in order to get feedback from the audience. Responses to the survey proposed that alliances with civil society organizations should be created and that the GST outcomes should be translated into clear and specific timelines at national level, for example for moving away from fossil fuels. Furthermore, the GST should also be leveraged to deliver urgent action on adaptation and loss and damage. Developing countries should also focus on sustainable development and they should be enabled to deal with other socio-economic priorities.

Programme of the Online Seminar

Video of the presentation of the Policy Paper and GST outcomes

Policy Paper „How can the echo of the Global Stocktake be leveraged for enhanced climate action”

More about the project “Support for the first Global Stocktake”

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