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What Can the Paris Agreement’s Global Stocktake Learn from the Sustainable Development Goals?

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DOI https://doi.org/10.21552/cclr/2018/3/8

Jennifer Huang


In December 2018, countries will adopt the rules and guidelines that will bring the elements of the Paris Agreement to life. One key element is the global stocktake, a unique multilateral review mechanism focusing on collective action and achievement. Parties to the Paris Agreement may want to look to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which offer parallels to both the Agreement’s enhanced transparency framework and the global stocktake. A review of the potential similarities and differences in their review and reporting cycles, their high-level events and outcomes, measuring progress, managing technical expert input, sharing knowledge, information and experience, as well as including non-state actors could provide some relevant lessons for the upcoming international climate negotiations. In some ways, the SDGs process is structurally and politically too dissimilar to offer a template but its approach to adaptation offers insight into how adaptation could be addressed in the global stocktake. Both processes also highlight the need to build the capacity of governmental processes to continuously improve the reporting of key information over time. Because these processes are complementary and meant to evolve, countries could begin to look to the long-term integration of aspects of both regimes to enhance coherence and reduce redundancies. At the climate conference in Katowice, Poland, Parties will need to narrow the broad outlines of the global stocktake down to specifics. Cycles need to be defined and ways to aggregate or synthesize the vast amounts of information must be determined. Parties can begin to draw on parallels between relevant processes and any early lessons they offer as they consider what key features to include in the modalities, rules, and guidelines to be decided in Katowice.

Jennifer Huang, International Fellow, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). For correspondence: <mailto:huangj@c2es.org>.

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