The Buildings Breakthrough: Global push for near-zero emission and resilient buildings by 2030 unveiled at COP28

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06 December, 2023




This press release was originally published by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction.

Dubai, 6 December 2023 — The Governments of France and Morocco, together with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), launched the Buildings Breakthrough today at COP28, which will see countries joining forces to accelerate the transformation of the sector – which accounts for 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions – with a view to making near-zero emissions and climate-resilient buildings the new normal by 2030. Twenty-eight countries have so far pledged their commitment to the Buildings Breakthrough.

The Buildings Breakthrough is part of the Breakthrough Agenda, which provides a framework for countries, businesses and civil society to join up and strengthen their actions every year in key emitting sectors, through a coalition of leading public, private and public-private global initiatives. It is co-led by the Ministry for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion of France and the Ministry of National Territory Planning, Land Planning, Housing, and City Policy of the Kingdom of Morocco, and coordinated under the auspices of the UNEP-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC).

The new initiative aims to strengthen international collaboration to decarbonize the building sector and make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in all regions by 2030.

Under the Buildings Breakthrough, the UNEP/GlobalABC secretariat, the International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency, together with the High-level Climate Champions, will undertake an annual assessment of global progress in the sector, closely aligned with the UNEP/GlobalABC annual Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction.

The buildings sector is pivotal for future investments due to its cultural, economic, environmental, and social impact,” said Christophe Béchu, Minister for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion of France. “Partnering with the Kingdom of Morocco and 25 other nations, we call for more countries to join the Buildings Breakthrough, and call governments and all stakeholders to join us in Paris for the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in 2024 to collectively work towards near-zero emission and resilient buildings.

The 27 countries that pledged their commitment to the Buildings Breakthrough are: Armenia, Austria, Canada, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Sweden, Tunisia, Türkiye, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Zambia. Together, these nations represent around 34% of the global population, account for about 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to approximately 64% of global gross domestic product. In addition, the European Commission and 18 international initiatives have announced their support.

Business, industry and city leaders are already taking action to unlock the climate solutions of the buildings sector,” said Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for COP28. “We welcome this strong commitment from governments which will provide the enabling environment to accelerate the sector’s sustainable transformation for everyone, everywhere.

To maintain momentum for this initiative, the first-ever Buildings and Climate Global Forum will be held on 7-8 March, 2024, in Paris, France. This forum will bring together construction ministers from around the world, as well as stakeholders across the buildings sector value chain, including local authorities, NGOs, and businesses.

UNEP supports the Buildings Breakthrough and welcomes governments’ pledges to near-zero emission and resilient buildings,” said Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, Director of UNEP’s Industry and Economy Division. “We look forward to uniting nations and all stakeholders at the Buildings and Climate Global Forum next year. We are motivated to see frontrunners across the life cycle of buildings and construction delivering on their ambition. Together, we can reshape our built environment, ensuring a greener and more resilient tomorrow to pave the way for net zero.

At COP28, UNEP and the signatory governments extended an open invitation to nations worldwide to join the Buildings Breakthrough and unite in this global effort towards near-zero emission and resilient buildings by 2030.

WBCSD supports the Buildings Breakthrough through the Built Environment Market Transformation initiative, which unites stakeholders along the full value chain behind collective shared actions to achieve the 2030 goals.

The Market Transformation initiative focuses on three key levers:

  • life cycle thinking
  • integrating carbon cost
  • transforming supply and demand.

It will be launched together with WBCSD members and partners at the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in March 2024, in Paris, France.

All built environment stakeholders are invited to join the Buildings Breakthrough and the Buildings and Climate Global Forum next year to collectively shape the future of the built environment.