The Global Stocktake under the Paris Agreement

H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President and other participants onstage during the Closing Plenary at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on December 13, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Click to enlarge
Closing plenary at the UN Climate Change Conference on December 13, 2023, in Dubai
Source: Christopher Pike / COP28

The Global Stocktake assesses the collective progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement every five years. The first Global Stocktake concluded in 2023 with a decision at COP28 on the way forward to increase action and support to effectively address climate change.

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Modalities of the Global Stocktake

To achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, all countries must massively and urgently increase their response to the threats of climate change. The Paris Agreement established a mechanism to regularly assess the collective progress towards the goals of the Agreement and identify opportunities and challenges in enhancing action and support - the Global Stocktake (GST). The modalities and the information sources for the Global Stocktake were defined in a decision of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA Decision 19/CMA.1) in 2018.

The Global Stocktake consists of three phases:

In the first phase, information is collected and processed. This includes the status of greenhouse gas emissions, mitigation actions undertaken by Parties, the overall impact of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), the status of adaptation efforts, finance flows, specific barriers and challenges for developing countries, opportunities to strengthen international cooperation on mitigation and adaptation, and equity aspects. The information originates from a wide range of sources, including the scientific community, international organisations and other non-Party stakeholders.

In the second phase, the information is assessed in a technical dialogue consisting of workshops, round tables and other activities with representatives from Parties and non-Party stakeholders, which also involve the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In the third phase, a political assessment of the results of the technical dialogue is carried out. This includes high-level political meetings and aims to identify pathways for more ambitious action and support, as well as examples of good practices. The three phases last a total of two and a half years; the first GST was conducted in the period from 2021 to 2023. The second GST is expected to take place from 2026 to 2028.


Increasing mitigation efforts

In a project on behalf of UBA, technical support was provided in the preparation for the first Global Stocktake and courses of action for increasing mitigation efforts were identified. An analysis of equity concepts showed that the application of one concept only may not be sufficient to ensure equitable and ambitious climate action. For such action, it is important to use all available capabilities and opportunities for climate action and to increase them. To support the discussion on transformative mitigation actions, an overview of key mitigation actions was published. A recent UBA Discussion Paper links these mitigation actions to the efforts agreed under the Global Stocktake and discusses how these efforts can be reflected in NDCs.


Illustrating collective progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement

The Global Stocktake has a mandate to assess countries' collective, rather than individual, progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and provide actionable information for increasing ambition. The Performance Distributions Tool, which was developed on behalf of UBA, offers a more nuanced way to assess collective progress in overall emission reductions, sectors and specific greenhouse gases. A performance distribution is a histogram that groups countries based on how they fare in a specific indicator, such as greenhouse gas emissions per capita. This approach illustrates the collective progress of the international community in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The aim is to show, outside of the formal GST process, pioneers and laggards as well as room for ambitious action.


Outcomes of the first Global Stocktake

The first GST concluded with the ‘consideration of outputs’ phase in the run up to and during the Dubai UN climate change conference in December 2023. During this conference, Parties formulated the output of the GST in the form of a CMA decision (Decision 1/CMA.5). This decision constitutes a consensus of all Parties on collective progress made so far under the Paris Agreement, and on the way forward to increase action and support to effectively address climate change. The GST decision formulates specific efforts, such as the tripling of renewable energy capacity and doubling of energy efficiency, both by 2030, and transitioning away from fossil fuels by 2050. It also calls for halting and reversing deforestation and forest degradation by 2030 and transitioning to sustainable lifestyles, sustainable patterns of consumption and production along with circular economy approaches. This outcome of the Global Stocktake is key in informing Parties in the preparation of their new NDCs, which are due in 2025.


Leveraging the echo of the Global Stocktake

In order to be able to leverage the response to the Global Stocktake for enhanced climate action, a report developed on behalf of UBA concludes that interested actors need to engage in considerable coordination and communicative efforts. While national governments have an obligation to take up the GST outcomes, many of them may not be able or willing to do so. Interested actors should therefore design differentiated strategies to influence the various phases of NDC development, considering the different audiences, channels, messages and tone to achieve effective communication for each phase. Messaging coalitions of like-minded parties in policymaking, NGOs, private sector entities and research can help in this endeavor, together with a focus on positive messages, highlighting the opportunities arising from ambitious climate action and taking inspiration from other countries.