/ 19 July 2023

Creecy ‘honoured’ by appointment to consult nations for the first stocktake on climate progress

Barbara Creecy
Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.

Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Minister Barbara Creecy is “honoured” by an invitation by COP28 president-designate Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber that she conduct political consultations on his behalf to support the negotiations on the first review of progress on the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement

The Paris Agreement is a global framework that is legally binding and aims to limit global warming to below 2°C and push to limit it to 1.5°C. The agreement also aims to strengthen countries and the ability to deal with climate change.

Known as the Global Stocktake (GST), it is a process for countries to see where they are collectively making progress towards meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and where they are not. The stocktake is scheduled to conclude at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai at the end of this year.

Al Jaber requested Creecy’s support, as well as that of her counterpart from Denmark, Dan Jørgensen, to co-facilitate discussions at a political level among ministers responsible for climate change ahead of the Global Stocktake discussions. 

“Minister Creecy is honoured to accept this important and challenging assignment from the President-designate for COP28,” said Peter Mbelengwa, the acting chief director of communications and advocacy at the department of forestry, fisheries and the environment

“It is a recognition of South Africa’s important role in the progressive development of the multilateral process for addressing climate change, from South Africa’s instrumental role in securing the adoption of the Paris Agreement to its current role in support of the implementation phase of the agreement.”

Hearing views

Mbelengwa said this co-facilitation role entails “listening to a representative sample of parties, groups and constituencies” to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to hear their views on what they consider the critical elements of the stocktake.

The two ministers will report back their findings to the United Arab Emirates ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September, where the COP28 host intends to convene a ministerial meeting on the stocktake. 

“As such, the co-facilitation is intended to support the UAE in its efforts to guide the international community towards a successful outcome to the Global Stocktake at COP28,” said Mbelengwa.

Unity key 

In a letter this month to parties, outlining his vision for COP28, Al Jaber, who is also the chief executive of the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, said “the global community already knows the Global Stocktake will show we are off track”.

“This year, more than ever, unity is a prerequisite for success. COP28, and the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement, can be the turning point we need on climate action over this critical decade. 

“We know that if we do the right things now and take them to scale, we will create vast economic potential for everyone — North and South, East and West. The umbrella of this first GST, and our urgent response to its outcome, provides us with the chance we need to get the world on track,” he said. 

Main mechanism

Mbelengwa said the stocktake is the main mechanism under the UNFCCC’s Paris Agreement to take stock of the collective challenges and opportunities in implementing the Paris Agreement. 

“The purpose of this is to help inform parties in preparing their next nationally determined contributions [ climate plans developed by each country] to the Paris Agreement to raise ambition and accelerate climate action, as well as to enhance international cooperation.”

This is to ensure that the stocktaking exercise and the set of recommendations to parties to be adopted at COP28 is comprehensive, covering all aspects of the convention and the global goals in the Paris Agreement, such as mitigation, adaptation and enabling means of implementation and support for developing countries, he said. 

This work needs to be based on the best available science and equity, Mbelengwa said, so that it is evidence based and fair because countries are at very different levels of development and have divergent national circumstances.

“The first Global Stocktake is a critical moment in the multilateral process because it provides an opportunity to reflect both on the collective achievements made under the historic Paris Agreement, as well as to agree on course corrections to bring the international community on course to fully meet the global goals.”


He said the best available science, backed up by the on-the-ground realities in all parts of

the world, “clearly show that transformational change is required to address climate

change” in the context of sustainable development and just transitions.

The stocktake is the key moment for such strategic level discussions. “Its value lies in its facilitative, non-punitive and collective nature, because the focus is on stocktaking and setting the direction for enhanced climate action at the collective level as an international community, where all stakeholders need to work together to address a common threat.”

Creecy’s appointment does not have consequences for South Africa’s country role in the

climate negotiations, Mbelengwa said. 

“Our country will develop our negotiating mandate for consideration by cabinet by the third quarter this year. This mandate will then inform our country’s position in the negotiations and our discussions with fellow negotiators in the African Group and the G77 plus China.”