Catalyzing mitigation ambition under the Paris Agreement: elements for an effective Global Stocktake

L.G. Hermwille, Anne Siemons, Hannah Förster, Louise Jeffery

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Global Stocktake (GST) takes a central role within the architecture of the Paris Agreement, with many hoping that it will become a catalyst for increased mitigation ambition. This paper outlines four governance functions for an ideal GST: pacemaker, ensurer of accountability, driver of ambition and provider of guidance and signal. The GST can set the pace of progress by stimulating and synchronizing policy processes across governance levels. It can ensure accountability of Parties through transparency and public information sharing. Ambition can be enhanced through benchmarks for action and transformative learning. By reiterating and refining the long term visions, it can echo and amplify the guidance and signal provided by the Paris Agreement. The paper further outlines preconditions for the effective performance of these functions. Process-related conditions include: a public appraisal of inputs; a facilitative format that can develop specific recommendations; high-level endorsement to amplify the message and effectively inform national climate policy agendas; and an appropriate schedule, especially with respect to the transparency framework. Underlying information provided by Parties complemented with other (scientific) sources needs to enable benchmark setting for collective climate action, to allow for transparent assessments of the state of emissions and progress of a low-carbon transformation. The information also needs to be politically relevant and concrete enough to trigger enhancement of ambition. We conclude that meeting these conditions would enable an ideal GST and maximize its catalytic effect. Key policy insights The functional argument developed in this article may inspire a purposeful design of the GST as its modalities and procedures are currently being negotiated. The analytical framework provided serves as a benchmark against which to assess the GST's modalities and procedures. Gaps and blind spots in the official GST can and should be addressed by processes external to the climate regime in academia and civil society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-1001
Number of pages14
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number8
Early online date13 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2019


  • Global Stocktake
  • mitigation
  • NDCs
  • Paris Agreement
  • raising ambition


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