UCT prof part of report which charts way forward for Paris Agreement on climate change

18 September 2023 | Story Thami Nkwanyane. Photo UCT News. Read time 4 min.
Prof Harald Winkler
Prof Harald Winkler

A key technical report, which had Professor Harald Winkler from the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) School of Economics as one of the two facilitators, has found that many creative and actionable solutions to overcome climate change challenges are ready to be implemented. The report a global stocktake on implementation progress made on the Paris Agreement was published on Tuesday, 12 September.

While parties to the Paris Agreement in 2015 have taken widespread actions to address climate change and its impacts, ambition and implementation must be accelerated rapidly. Social inclusion and equity are deemed essential to broaden such actions.

The global stocktake was designed under the Paris Agreement to assess the global response to the climate crisis and chart a better way forward. The global stocktake is held every five years and this latest stocktake is intended to inform the next round of nationally determined contributions to be put forward by 2025.


“Much more is needed now, on all fronts and by all actors, to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Professor Winkler said: “More than 137 non-party stakeholders submitted input on their actions and support for the Paris Agreement goals. In total over 170 000 pages of written submissions were received, and we had over 252 hours of meetings and discussions over the three meetings of the technical dialogue – in plenaries, roundtables and world café formats. As the report’s technical findings show, much more is needed now, on all fronts and by all actors, to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The global stocktake started with a data collection phase in 2021, collecting a wide range of inputs from parties, international bodies, and non-party stakeholders. Technical dialogues were carried out across three meetings in 2022 and 2023 and were chaired, with the assistance of the United Nations (UN) Climate Change secretariat, by two co-facilitators Farhan Akhtar and Winkler, nominated by developed and developing countries respectively. The scope of the technical discussions were very broad, including mitigation, adaptation and support, as well as loss and damage and response measures. Cutting across all these topics were ambition and equity – all informed by the best available science.


The synthesis report of the technical dialogues highlight 17 key technical findings from the discussions. Across the topics, the report makes clear that there is progress, but much more needs to be done. While there are well-known gaps, the technical findings highlighted existing and emerging opportunities and creative solutions to bridge these gaps. Good practices and proposals to accelerate implementation, action and support, are highlighted in all areas.

The report lays a strong scientific and technical base for the conclusion of the first global stocktake which it due to take placein Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, at the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 in December 2023.


“I urge governments to carefully study the findings of the report and ultimately understand what it means for them.”

During the final phase – the consideration of outcomes – a series of high-level events will be held to discuss the implications of these technical findings. These discussions will inform a decision and/or declaration summarising key political messages, identifying opportunities, good practices, and challenges to enhance climate action and support.

Simon Stiell, executive secretary of UN Climate Change, concluded: “I urge governments to carefully study the findings of the report and ultimately understand what it means for them and the ambitious action they must take next. It’s the same for businesses, communities and other key stakeholders. While the catalytic role of the Paris Agreement and the multilateral process will remain vital in the coming years, the global stocktake is a critical moment for greater ambition and accelerating action.”

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