Thursday 14 September 2023

First Global Stocktake synthesis report calls for modal shift in transport

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On 8 September 2023, the synthesis report of the first Global Stocktake was published by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This report summarises the inputs received at the three meetings of the technical dialogue and provide an overview of the collective progress toward achieving the purpose and long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, alerting Parties about potential gaps and opportunities for enhanced action and international cooperation.

What is the Global Stocktake?

The Global Stocktake is a critical process of the Paris Agreement, which serves as a reflection point, whereby countries come together to analyse the progress made in climate action and review the gaps in ambition and action, course-correct, and accelerate delivery of the Paris Agreement goals. This process happens every five years, and the first Global Stocktake is to be concluded at COP28.

What are the key insights from the synthesis report?

The co-facilitators of the technical dialogue, Farhan Akhtar and Harald Winkler, conducted three meetings in 2022 and 2023 to collect inputs from Parties, non-Party stakeholders and international organisations with the support of the best available science. The summary of this work is presented in the synthesis report which shows overall progress, but not nearly enough to keep global warming below 1.5oC. The key insights are divided into the three areas agreed by countries during COP24: Mitigation, Adaptation and Means of Implementation, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building. Good practices and proposals to accelerate implementation, action and support are also highlighted for all three areas in the report. The entire text of the report can be found here.

How is the transport sector reflected in the Global Stocktake?

The report focuses on cross-cutting measures to be taken in the above-mentioned three key areas, with sector-specific mentions having a small footprint in the report. The transport sector was only mentioned in the context of mitigation actions, under Key Finding 6: “achieving net zero CO2 and GHG emissions requires systems transformations across all sectors and contexts, including scaling up renewable energy while phasing out all unabated fossil fuels, ending deforestation, reducing non-CO2 emissions, and implementing both supply- and demand-side measures”.

It is worth noting that modal shift to walking and public transport is highlighted as ‘essential in the context of rethinking mobility’. This is well-aligned with the call and messaging of UIC over recent years, together with other sustainable transport organisations like SLOCAT, the International Transport Forum and the Marrakesh Partnership. Advances in this topic were made at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, when the Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability (LOTUS) initiative was launched by the Egyptian Presidency. UIC, together with UITP and Walk21, is co-lead of the capacity building workstream for this initiative.

Other recommendations in the transport sector include the electrification of vehicles and the urgency in slashing emissions from shipping, aviation and freight transportation.

Way forward

In addition to taking inventory of global climate action, the Global Stocktake is meant to accelerate ambition for the next cycle of Nationally Determined Contributions. Countries are encouraged to address the gaps in action and adjust climate plans to reach ever closer to the Paris Agreement.

UIC is preparing its key messages for COP28 to bring the vision of the rail sector to climate discussions and showcase its potential, focusing on:

1. Transport and energy nexus: as requested by the COP28 Presidency, UIC has engaged with fellow sustainable transport partner organisations to develop a white paper “Advancing the energy and transport transitions with railways, public transport and active mobility” which builds the case for mutually-reinforcing transport and energy planning. With rail and public transport as large energy consumers, the coordinated planning for transport and energy infrastructure presents significant opportunities, including the advancement of renewables in the transport energy matrix. This white paper will serve as the foundation for the COP28 Presidency programming for the ‘avoid’ and ‘shift’ pieces of the transport thematic day.

2. Climate financing for rail in low- and middle-income countries: UIC is working with the University of Birmingham, ALSTOM, World Bank and Roland Berger to develop a study on the investment gaps in rail infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries. The goal is to understand where the main investment opportunities and potential lie in the different emerging markets and how can these countries can take advantage of different climate financing mechanisms and maximise the socioeconomic and environmental benefits from rail development. A great example of commitment to green growth and inclusive economies is the recent “African leaders’ Nairobi declaration on climate change and call to action”.

3. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) for rail: in light of the new cycle of NDCs in 2025, UIC is doing a deep dive into the current NDCs submitted by countries to the UNFCCC to analyse rail mentions in these plans and to make recommendations for the next cycle. Currently only 45 out of 195 countries mention rail in their NDCs to different degrees of specificities. Recommendations include ensuring that rail references in the NDCs are an important policy signal that the country intends to use the rail sector as a climate solution and is committed to promoting it. Another important implication is NDCs related to the much-discussed Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which will define the carbon and non-carbon markets based on the mitigation metrics set out by the countries’ NDCs.

UIC will continue to promote the More Trains campaign and is looking forward to working with members and partners to advance these key messages for this year’s COP, growing the visibility of the rail sector as a climate solution. To support More Trains now, register your organisation via this form

For further information, please contact Joo Ha at

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