Maximising the Potential Impact of the Global Stocktake under the Paris Climate Agreement

In the Paris Climate Agreement, the five-yearly Global Stocktake (GST) plays an essential role. GST is used to monitor the implementation and progress of the Paris Agreement. Applying the concept of governance functions of international institutions, the policy brief derives the key recommendations to contribute to understanding.

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The five-yearly Global Stocktake (GST) plays an essential role in the overall ambition mechanism of the Paris Agreement on climate change by ‘assessing the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of this Agreement and its long-term goals’. While the Katowice climate conference set out the broad parameters for the design and implementation of the GST, it did not provide all the necessary details of how the process will be organised. With the first GST due to start at COP26 in Glasgow, there is an urgent need to identify how the GST could be organised so as to maximise the effectiveness of the process.

H2020 NDC ASPECTS project recently released a policy brief aiming to contribute to this understanding, authored by Christiane Beuermann and Wolfgang Obergassel from the Wuppertal Institute and Harro van Asselt, Maximilian Häntzschel and Moritz Petersmann from the University of Eastern Finland. Recognising the importance and interrelatedness of all three thematic areas of the GST, it focuses on mitigation. Applying the concept of governance functions of international institutions, the policy brief derives the following key recommendations:

  • The collective nature of the Global Stocktake (GST) does not allow for a Party-by-Party discussion of progress and options for the way forward. Nonetheless, the consideration of progress could be disaggregated in other ways to make best use of the rich and comprehensive information collected by breaking it down into manageable pieces. A sectoral approach to the GST would be especially useful in this regard, as sectors constitute the communities of action which climate policy needs to address. Moreover, each sector has distinct opportunities and challenges. Organising the GST to accommodate a sectoral approach would help reveal collective sectoral ambition gaps, highlight additional mitigation potentials and promote knowledge and learning on how to tap into these potentials. Involvement of sectoral ministries would amplify these effects.
  • While the Paris Agreement and the Katowice decision do not provide an explicit entry point for a sectoral approach, it could nevertheless be pursued under several of the broadly formulated ‘guiding questions’ that are supposed to form the basis of the GST.
  • To ensure procedural fairness and boost transparency and accountability, equitable access should be guaranteed for developing country government delegations and different stakeholder groups. Equitable treatment of non-Party stakeholders’ inputs and perspectives includes early communication of time frames and procedures.
  • To strengthen the follow-up of the GST outcomes, GST cycles should culminate in a high-level event at the level of heads of state and government, and an associated COP decision and/or declaration acknowledging the Paris Agreement’s long-term goal, stating collective overall and collective sectoral climate ambition and committing to further action needed. The core of a detailed technical summary of available options, best practices and recommendations could be recommendations for sectoral decarbonisation targets and roadmaps.

You can find the policy brief on the NDC ASPECTS website.


One of the key features of the Paris Agreement (PA) for responding to climate change is the five-yearly Global Stocktake (GST). The purpose of the GST is to review the implementation of the PA in order to assess the collective progress towards achieving the purpose of the PA and its long-term goals. The outcome of the GST shall inform the PA’s Parties in updating and enhancing their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDC ASPECTS will provide inputs to the GST and support the potential revision of existing NDCs, as well as the development of new NDCs for the post-2030 period. The project will particularly focus on four sectoral systems that are highly relevant in terms of the greenhouse gas emissions they produce yet have thus far made only limited progress in decarbonization. These sectors are transport and mobility (land-based transport and international aviation & shipping), emission-intensive industriesbuildings, and agriculture, forestry, and other land-use(AFOLU), including their supply by and interaction with the energy conversion sector. For each of those sectors, NDC ASPECTS will undertake “Sectoral Conversations” to co-create evidence-based narratives with sectoral experts and stakeholders, drawing on the consortium’s extensive networks. These narratives will then be translated into global pathways informing the GST as well as national pathways for strategically selected countries for each of the four sectors. As an input to the Sectoral Conversations, the project will systematically assess transformation challenges and opportunities (economic, technological, political/institutional, capacity and awareness), taking into account experiences with the implementation of the first round of NDCs as well as model-based quantitative analyses. Additionally, NDC ASPECTS will identify ways and means to improve international governance to enable and facilitate sectoral transformations.

Project details

  • Project title: Assessing Sectoral Perspectives on Climate Transitions to support the Global Stocktake and subsequent NDCs (NDC ASPECTS)
  • Funding scheme: European Union Horizon 2020 Programme (EU H2020, Grant agreement Nr: 101003866)
  • Duration: 3 years (1 May 2021 – 30 April 2024)
  • Project coordinator: Wuppertal Institute
  • Project website: