There are only a few weeks left before UNFCCC COP28 settles the bases of the framework on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), hence laying foundations for the second Global Stocktake in 2028 to assess adaptation progress globally. However, discussions at the eighth and last workshop (Botswana, September 27-29) of the 2-year Glasgow-Sharm el Sheikh work programme on the GGA (GlaSS) showed that countries still have diverging views on the structural elements (targets, metrics, means of implementation & enabling conditions, follow-up) of the GGA framework. This blogpost outlines the main areas of non-alignment and suggest seven globally-relevant targets for consideration.

Main areas of non-alignment 

A first element of disagreement touches on the definition of globally-relevant targets–i.e. applicable to all countries–and subsequently, a metric system to track progress/gaps against them. Some countries are reluctant to get into the details of this discussion and would prefer to avoid setting any target that could then lay the basis for calls towards additional funding. And indeed, other countries advocate for global targets that explicitly reflect the specific situation of “particularly vulnerable countries”. In addition, there is a general view that because targets should be informed by quantitative indicators at the national level, the availability or non-availability of datasets is a blocking factor to, not to say a determinant of, the design of targets. 

Beyond diplomacy, however, one must acknowledge, first, that the scope of the GGA framework is global in essence, meaning that it needs to consider all countries together whatever their development status. Second, establishing globally-relevant targets is an unavoidable starting point for the GGA framework and ultimately the whole Global Stocktake cycle. Finally, identifying relevant metrics is not an insurmountable obstacle and should happen after shared objectives are designed, and not the other way around. Alternative assessment methods exist (Canales, 2023), such as structured expert judgments (Morgan, 2014; Magnan, 2023) for example, that can help overcome the classical quantitative indicator bottleneck (Magnan, 2023b). Some countries also advocate for exploring the opportunity to use indicators that have been set in other arenas, such as for the Sustainable Development Goals for example, provided they can be better tailored to inform adaptation action. 

A second major area of non-alignment among countries relates to how to consider the means of implementation relating to finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. Some countries advocate for means of implementation to be kept specific to the circumstances of the “particularly vulnerable countries” and prominent in any set of adaptation targets. Other countries prefer to avoid putting the light on means of implementation and rather refer to broader enabling conditions. The issue is that, here again because of the global scope of the GGA, one needs to acknowledge that developed countries also do not invest enough in their own adaptation action and lack capacities from the national to sub-national levels. As a result, “means of implementation”, which in the UNFCCC context is a more precise language than “enabling conditions”, are to be understood not only from an international support perspective, but also from a domestic one. Yet, nothing in the Paris Agreement prevents from formally highlighting the need to enhance international support to non-Annex I countries (Article 7.6) together with having a complementary target being applicable to all countries and also calling for governments in Annex I countries to further invest in adaptation (Article 7.9).

Priorities for now

The perspective of reaching a consensus on all the structural elements of the GGA framework in the next few weeks looks overoptimistic, even more so considering only seven hours are planned at COP28 for this discussion. The focus should therefore be on the highest priorities, namely the establishment of globally-relevant adaptation targets and the identification of clear bases for an ambitious roadmap towards the second Global Stocktake.

Second-order priorities could be addressed within two years–but no more–after COP28. They refer to more technical aspects including the identification of relevant metrics, efficient reporting systems under the UNFCCC, guidance for countries to implement the GGA framework, role of non-UNFCCC stakeholders, and modalities for synthesizing information.

Towards clear GGA targets 

Building on inputs and wording by Parties and groups of Parties ahead of (Bueno Rubial, 2023) and during the Botswana workshop, as well as on recent scientific insights (Magnan, 2023), some wording for a “high-level political message” and “specific targets” are proposed here that could serve as a basis for discussions at COP28.

Regarding a high-level political message, the following six-fold approach could be taken: (a) all nations commit to secure people and ecosystems from a 1.5°C of global warming and beyond; (b) by accelerating the transition from incremental to transformational adaptation, together with minimising maladaptation; and (c) through addressing climate impacts and risks to globally-relevant sectors such as health, food and water security, settlements and peace, for example. (d) Countries’ action will consist in further activating existing policy instruments (e.g., National Adaptation Plans) and will be supported by enhanced means of implementation (finance, capacity building, technology transfer) based on differentiated mechanisms including international support for non-Annex I countries and domestic investments for Annex I countries. (e) Collective action will align with and contribute to global challenges such as climate mitigation and the Sustainable Development Goals. (f) All of this requires establishing clear globally-relevant adaptation-specific targets, a robust and feasible tracking mechanism, and an architecture for reporting.

Seven globally-relevant targets are proposed below that encompass important policy and scientific considerations (Table 1). First, they reflect some agreement that emerged throughout the GlaSS workshops around the need to assess adaptation efforts against four stages of the adaptation policy cycle: impacts, vulnerability and risk assessments; planning; implementation; and monitoring, evaluation and learning. Second, they reflect six core physical and human dimensions that, together, help describe adaptation in a comprehensive way (Magnan, 2023; Magnan, 2023b): knowledge about current and future climate risks; planning; action; capacities; evidence towards risk reduction; and long-term strategising. The seven globally-relevant targets could be set towards 2050 and are presented in the table below; all are to be informed based on reporting by countries (e.g. Adaptation Communications) and by non-UNFCCC stakeholders (e.g. UNEP Adaptation Gap Report, IPCC reports, etc.).

Table 1. A proposal for seven globally-relevant adaptation targets. Grey cells map the correspondence between these targets and both the four stages of the adaptation policy cycle and the six core dimensions of adaptation. 


Adaptation policy cycle

Core dimensions of adaptation












Knowledge on current and future global climate risks is regularly updated, based on inputs from countries and science. That means that there is an updated understanding of the levels and driving factors of hazard, exposure and vulnerability across nations, and at the sub-national level rather than for national averages.



The adaptation planning implementation gap is filled in, meaning that: (a) national-level adaptation plans clarify short- to medium-term adaptation goals at the country level, and (b) provide guidance and support for the establishment and proper implementation of plans at the sub-national to local levels (as these are key scales for adaptation to concretely happen).



An annual inventory of adaptation-related interventions (policies, projects, actions) that are actually implemented on the ground and across countries, is set up. It describes the main characteristics of the intervention: risk targeted, type of action, time and spatial scale, beneficiaries, main stakeholders involved, etc. The goal is to understand the degree of adequacy of interventions worldwide (do they address the main climate risks?).



Adequate institutional/governance, technical and financial capacities to cope with a changing climate are deployed in all countries. This especially refers to means of implementation to be supported by international finance in noun-annex I countries, and domestic investments also in Annex I countries.



The effectiveness of adaptation action across countries is assessed in order to bring evidence on climate risk reduction worldwide. A global survey is undertaken and regularly updated that relies on information at the national and sub-national levels.



Most of the countries are engaged in long-term adaptation strategising, meaning that they have established context-specific adaptation goals and solution pathways beyond 2050.



Multi-country responses to transboundary climate risks and maladaptation are designed and implemented, for example through the establishment of regional or multi-lateral adaptation plans.


Policy cycle — IVR: impacts, vulnerability and risk assessments; P: planning; I: implementation; MEL: monitoring, evaluation and learning. 

Adaptation dimensions — (1): knowledge about current and future climate risks; (2): planning; (3): action; (4): capacities; (5): evidence towards risk reduction; (6): long-term strategizing

Based on this, follow-up technical work should consist, first, in establishing a metric system to measure and track the various component of the global targets (Magnan, 2023b). Second, it should develop guidance for countries and non-UNFCCC stakeholders on how to take stock of climate risks (target 1), ensure there is a knock-on effect from the national to the sub-national levels (target 2), account for adaptation undertaken on the ground and effectiveness to reduce risks (targets 3 and 5), set up long-term adaptation pathways (target 6), and consider transboundary adaptation (target 7).