The first Global Stocktake will be happening in the next two weeks at COP28 in Dubai. It is a critical juncture for increased ambition to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. If you are new to the UNFCCC process, some terms, acronyms, and jargons can be confusing. Here is a list of some that you need to know to navigate the COP.
- Global Stocktake (GST)
The Global Stocktake or the GST is a mechanism of the Paris Agreement that reviews and assesses climate commitments to evaluate whether we are on track to reach its objective.
Specifically, it reviews progress on mitigation, adaptation, as well as financial, technological, and capacity-building means to support mitigation and adaptation efforts. It also helps assess the gaps in current action and contributes to identifying cooperation opportunities pointing towards find collective solutions.
In accordance with the Paris Agreement, the Global Stocktake should take place every five years. The process consists of three phases: (1) the Information Collection and Preparation phase, (2)the Technical Assessment phase, (3) and the political and Consideration of outputs phase.
The Information and Collection phase started at COP26 in Glasgow and was concluded last June at the Bonn climate talks. In this phase, reports were submitted by countries, the IPCC, UNFCCC, and the UN. Other organizations and scientists also provided information on a voluntary basis.
The Technical Assessment phase was conducted between mid-2022 and mid-2023. In this phase, synthesis reports were produced based on all information provided in the first phase. The reports included a summary report on mitigation, adaptation, and finance, and an overarching synthesis report.
The political and Consideration of outputs phase will be carried out during COP28 in Dubai. During this phase, the findings from the reports will be discussed. Negotiators, Ministers, and Heads of State are expected to identify opportunities for cooperation to accelerate climate action and determine the financial and technical support needed.
- Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) and Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA)
There are three governing bodies for the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement:
- the Conference of Parties (COP) governing the Convention
- the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) which governs the Kyoto Protocol. The CMP oversees the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and takes decisions to promote its effective implementation.
- the Conference of Parties serving as the meeting of Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA), governing the Paris Agreement. The CMA oversees the implementation of the Paris Agreement and takes decisions to promote its effective implementation.
- Subsidiary Body (SB)
The subsidiary bodies (SB) assist the governing bodies (COP, CMP, CMA). There are two subsidiary bodies: the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI). The SBSTA and SBI work together on several cross-cutting issues.
- Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA)
The Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice or SBSTA assists the governing bodies by providing timely information related to the processes and giving scientific and technological advice. The SBSTA also cooperates with relevant international organizations like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on scientific, technological, and methodological questions.
- Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI)
The Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) assists the governing bodies in assessing and reviewing the implementation of the UNFCCC, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement. Specifically, the SBI assesses and reviews key aspects of these treaties: transparency, mitigation, adaptation, finance, technology and capacity-building.
- Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)
Nationally Determined Contributions consist of 5-year mitigation and adaptation plans adopted by countries. All Signatory countries to the Paris Agreement are required to prepare, communicate and maintain NDC Submissions, which have to be updated every five years. The next round of NDC Submissions is due in 2025.
NDCs should be aligned with countries’ LTS and provide an overview of the short-term actions which should take place in the next 5 years in order to reach national long-term decarbonization goals. Assessing all countries’ NDCs can help determine whether the world is on track to achieve the long-term goal of the Paris Agreement. NDC Submissions are publicly accessible. Country submissions can be download from the NDC Registry available at: https://unfccc.int/NDCREG
- Long-term low emission development strategies (LT-LEDS)
Also called the “Low emission development strategies”, LT-LEDS is a policy tool to transition to a low-carbon resilient economy by 2050. Article 4.19 of the Paris Agreement says it is necessary for countries to prepare and submit “long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies.”
Internationally, LTS are designed to play the role of setting countryvisions for the structural transformations required to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement at country-level, and thus, operate as central compasses to support coherent decision-making. Continuous revisions of LTS are expected in order to remain an up-to-date strategic vision.
As of September 2023, 75 countries have submitted their LT-LEDS. You can read the synthesis report here: https://unfccc.int/lt-leds-synthesis-report#:~:text=5.,as%20at%2025%20September%202023.
Learn more about LT-LEDS by reading the IDDRI report, “Long-term low emissions development strategies and the Paris Agreement – Why, what and how?
Sources: UNFCCC, Nature Climate Change