Blog Post

Beyond the Global Stocktake- steps towards transparency in ‘Just Adaptation’

The first Global Stocktake (GST) was at the centre stage of the agenda for COP28.

The Paris Agreement provides for a collective assessment of progress in achieving its purpose and long-term goals through the mandate on GST which would take place every 5 years. The GST’s purpose is to undertake a comprehensive exercise that covers mitigation, adaptation, and the means of implementation while considering equity and the best available science. The process started at COP 26 Glasgow in 2021 and culminated with a political outcome at COP 28 Dubai in 2023. The outcome of the GST is crucial in its role of informing Parties in updating and enhancing nationally determined actions and support by 2025.

As outlined in Paris Agreement – Article 13 paragraphs 4, 5, and 6, as well as decision 19/CMA.1, country reporting from Parties to the UNFCCC – i.e., Adaptation Communications (ADCOMs), Biennial Transparency Reports (BTRs), National Communications (NCs), and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are the underpinning inputs to the GST process. In this reference, here we try to explore the implications of country reporting in the adaptation related outcomes of the 1st GST and the need for improved reporting to ensure that sufficient and pertinent information is available for undertaking the GST exercises in future.

Based on the mandate put forth by the Paris Agreement, GST has four adaptation-related functions: (a) recognize adaptation efforts of developing country Parties, (b) Enhance the implementation of adaptation action taking into account the adaptation communication, (c) Review the adequacy and effectiveness of adaptation, and the support provided for adaptation, (d) Review the overall progress made in achieving the global goal on adaptation. As such the GST has a dual mandate of assessing collective progress on adaptation and informing the update and enhancement of national-level adaptation actions.

While recognizing the efforts undertaken by Parties, the text acknowledges that adaptation actions are uneven and unequally distributed. With impacts of climate change being felt globally, irrespective of the geography, adaptation actions are the need of the hour. Hence, the emphasis of the outcome text is on adaptation planning and more so on implementation – with due prominence on possibilities of assessing, monitoring and evaluating the outcomes. Thus, Parties have been urged to submit their national adaptation plans, policies and planning processes by 2025. The GST document goes a step further to emphasis the importance of progress on implementation of adaptation action by urging Parties to submit an update on progress of implementation by 2030 to the UNFCCC.

Although guidance documents are designed for all the reporting instruments, as compared to emissions and mitigation-related reporting, there is flexibility on how and what gets reported on adaptation and support. This poses a problem of consistency and comparability of what and how much gets reported and hence is reflected in the adequacy and effectiveness assessments for the GST.

The GST outcomes on adaptation acknowledged the differential treatment that adaptation and mitigation receive in the global political discourse on climate change to a certain extent. During the negotiations, some developing countries wished for a mandate to be put in place for measuring and monitoring loss and damage using the biennial transparency reports (BTRs). Although, some developed countries disagreed indicating that national inventories would be hasty, the GST outcome text calls for Parties to prepare and regularly update their inventory of climate impacts. The GST text also requests the secretariat to prepare a regular synthesis report on adaptation information provided by Parties in their biennial transparency reports, adaptation communications and nationally determined contributions.

All these are steps towards making information on adaptation action easily and regularly available.

However, the push for progress on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) framework in the GST text and in turn the establishment of UAE Framework for Global Climate Resilience was by far one of the most important outcomes given the background that there was little progress on the GGA  in past eight years. The UAE Framework is expected to be instrumental in setting globally agreed thematic targets, set up national goals, and develop indicators that would support in identifying needs for adaptation action and adaptation finance. The development of indicators is one of the crucial elements here for tracking progress of implementation of adaptation actions. Although the UAE framework outcomes would have to grapple with several methodological concerns in developing quantifiable goals, indicators and matrices, efforts have been put in by some non- party stakeholders in developing and applying such approaches to track progress on adaptation (e.g. GAP-Track). These could serve as a basis towards developing a comprehensive framework on Global Climate Resilience. The indicators thus developed would be relevant across counties and would be capable of providing reliable data on adaptation implementation progress. These indicators would also allow for establishing monitoring and evaluation systems bringing in more transparency to adaptation actions. Coupled with the GST outcome on establishing and improving national inventories of climate impacts, over time, such indicators and metrices would support in understanding the needs and levels of adaptation going forward so as to ensure efficient and sufficient adaptation planning and implementation.

With the guidance on adaptation communications to be reviewed in 2025, there is a scope to put in place a systemic information collection and management system. As a part of increased clarity on Article 13, decision 19/CP.18 lists 9 tables (16 sub-tables) under Common Tabular Format (CTF) [1]. Although adaptation appears in only 3 tables related to financial flows and that too as one of the items with Mitigation. Tracking these tables may indicate if the support has increased or decreased over time but may not be sufficient to establish the progress on adaptation actions, support and their effectiveness.

To bring uniformity in the reporting periodicity and content, the CTF tables may be expanded to include common minimum adaptation action-related reporting indicators and measurements that would come from the UAE Framework. Bringing in synergies with the monitoring and measuring of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), parameters like vulnerable or at-risk populations based on demographic characteristics and socio-economic situations and access to basic amenities (clean water, housing conditions, etc.) may be included in the CTFs. Beyond that, the reporting tables could also track vulnerability-related targets such as climatological extreme events and related mortality, loss, and damage (costs) and estimates of lives saved/ losses cut due to disaster management activities and early warning systems as indicated in the GST outcome on inventory of climate impacts and establishment of multi-hazard early warning systems.

Finance plays the crucial enabling role in implementation of climate actions and adaptation actions are no exception to this. The outcomes text of the 1st GST admits to the broadening gap in adaptation finance. However, the same has not been addressed effectively in the negotiated outcomes. The COP28 Presidency went into the negotiation process with a goal on doubling adaptation finance with G77 and China and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) recognizing it as a first step and much more would need to be done in future. However, the final pledges summed to $169 million instead of $300 million towards Adaptation Fund. These pledges include the funds to increase capacity. Earlier iterations of the text had put a separate proposal  for new and additional dedicated capacity-building fund; however, it got scrapped in the final outcomes text. The outcomes on adaptation finance were also shifted to the means of implementation section from the adaptation section after receiving a push from developed country Parties. The developing country Parties’ proposal on including that larger share of adaptation finance should come in form of grant-based and other highly concessional options was included in the final outcome.

Climate change impacts are being felt globally and hence, adaptation and resilience building should no more be a Global North vs Global South debate- even in the negotiations. There are vulnerable populations worldwide. Hence, adaptation actions and finance is imperative for each Party. A transparent system on reporting adaptation actions and support would go a long way towards assessing the needs, adequacy and effectiveness in achieving ‘Just Adaptation’ for all.

[1] The current CTF tables related to adaptation support can be find here: