As we stand on the precipice of COP28 in Dubai, the global community faces a pivotal moment in the journey towards addressing climate change. This juncture is not merely another conference; it marks the threshold of the first global stocktake (GST) under the Paris Agreement. The decisions made here have far-reaching implications, shaping the trajectory of international climate efforts for years to come. In 2015, the Paris Agreement laid down a roadmap for collective action, setting ambitious goals to combat climate change. The GST, conducted every five years, is a vital checkpoint in this journey—a comprehensive evaluation of the progress made and the collective response to the escalating climate crisis. The First Global Stocktake, launched in 2021, has already sounded the alarm, indicating that while strides have been made, the world is not on track to meet the agreed-upon climate goals. Against this backdrop, COP28 assumes heightened significance, offering an opportunity for nations to recalibrate their climate commitments and navigate the complex terrain of collective climate action.

Understanding the Paris Agreement’s Global Stocktake

Enacted in 2015, the Paris Agreement aimed to fortify the global response to climate change, establishing goals to curtail the rise in average global temperatures, enhance adaptive capabilities, and align financial flows. The GST, conducted every five years, serves as an evaluation of progress towards these objectives. Beyond a retrospective analysis, the GST informs countries’ climate commitments, known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs), fostering international collaboration. This mechanism holds the key to elevating climate efforts over time within the Paris Agreement’s framework.

Assessing Progress and Identifying Actionable Areas

The inaugural GST, launched in 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow, initiated an exhaustive two-year information gathering and discussion phase, culminating in a comprehensive UN synthesis report in September. Despite notable strides, the report delivers a sobering message – the world is veering off course from the agreed-upon climate goals, demanding urgent and intensified efforts across all sectors. Identifying areas for immediate action, the report underscores the need for transformative changes, heightened adaptation measures, and increased support, including financial backing, to fortify climate action.

The Transition to the Political Phase

With the baton now passed to the political phase of the first GST, the upcoming COP28 in Dubai assumes critical importance. The success of this phase hinges on its ability to translate technical findings into concrete, actionable outcomes. The OECD-IEA Climate Change Expert Group emphasizes the potential impact of a well-designed GST, emphasizing engagement, momentum-building, and subsequent action. COP28 presents a defining moment for countries to respond to the GST’s assessment, challenging them to enhance collective efforts and align existing structures for efficacy.

Challenges in Achieving a Course Correction

While achieving a course correction with the first GST is imperative, it is far from straightforward. Translating technical findings into potent political signals necessitates careful structuring of GST outputs. Crafting a package with mutually reinforcing elements, addressing diverse actors, can send a clear message of unity, commitment, and actionable responses. This approach can establish linkages with other processes, institutions, and actors, fostering a comprehensive, collaborative strategy for climate goals.

Implementation and Future Processes

The GST journey does not culminate at COP28; instead, it shifts gears into implementation mode in 2024. COP30 in 2025, slated for Belém, Brazil, expects nations to present fortified NDCs informed by the first GST. Integrating robust follow-up processes throughout 2024 is vital, ensuring that the GST’s recommendations contribute to ambitious and actionable climate plans in 2025. This reframes the GST as a catalyst for tangible, on-the-ground action, rather than a procedural exercise.

Transforming Paris Agreement Goals into Reality

In essence, COP28 and the subsequent years are not merely waypoints but represent a transformative journey toward realizing the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The international community faces a collective challenge: to convert the findings of the GST into a catalyst for concrete, sustainable action, ultimately steering the world towards a climate-resilient and equitable future. The success of COP28 hinges on our collective commitment to course correction, setting the stage for a new era of climate cooperation and progress.


In conclusion, the impending COP28 in Dubai stands as a watershed moment in the global fight against climate change. The first global stocktake under the Paris Agreement has laid bare the gaps in our collective efforts, signaling a need for urgent and intensified action. As nations convene, the decisions made at this critical juncture will reverberate far beyond the conference halls, shaping the narrative of our shared environmental future. The structure of the first GST outputs will be pivotal, offering an opportunity to send a resounding message of commitment and unity. COP28 presents a challenge and an opportunity — a challenge to translate technical findings into political will and an opportunity to fortify international collaboration. The world is watching, and the success of COP28 hinges on our collective ability to steer towards a sustainable, climate-resilient future.