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Testimony
Publishing date: 11/12/2016

Sustainable buildings for sustainable cities

His Excellency Mr Abdoulaye Balde, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Senegal
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Ladies and Gentlemen Representatives of Governments,
Ladies and Gentlemen Representatives of the United Nations Environment Program,
Dear future members of the Global Alliance for Building and Construction,
Dear guests,

I would first of all like to thank the French Government and the United Nations Environment Program for associating Senegal with the launch of this important and commendable initiative.

Ladies and gentlemen,
As you know, most African countries are faced with the phenomenon of accelerated urban growth resulting in urgent need of associated goods, services and infrastructure. Due to this trend, the buildings and construction sector is highly solicited and often unable to offer lasting solutions.

On the other hand, our cities, although small in area, consume a lot of energy. Greenhouse gas emissions from cities are growing, coming mainly from the building sector (49%).

Ladies and gentlemen,
Population density in the cities of Senegal is increasing day by day and this growth is not proportional to the number of suitable, sustainable and resilient dwellings needed to meet the climate change challenge.

In light of this situation, the government has decided to integrate energy efficiency in buildings and construction in its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to reduce the sector’s emissions and increase its resilience to climate change.

This decision on innovative, promising initiatives adapted to the local and regional context concerns:

  • A national program for the reduction of gas emissions through energy efficiency in the building sector.
  • A typha-based thermal insulation materials technology transfer project.
  • A study on the valuation of the Nubian vault concept.

These projects aiming at promoting bioclimatic buildings will make it possible to remove institutional and regulatory barriers to energy efficiency integration in the buildings sector and to promote necessary and urgent reforms on construction codes, urban planning and architecture under revision. These projects will also ensure implementing the recent ECOWAS Directive on Integration of Energy Efficiency in Building in the Tropical Zone.

Indeed, our decision-makers are aware that the challenge of developing real-estate infrastructure will now need to be combined with climate change resilience. I commend the involvement of public institutions, the private sector, local authorities, researchers and civil society. All are part of the buildings value chain and climate-compatible construction. Through their efforts, motivation and innovation, we know that energy efficiency in the buildings sector can and should serve as a lever for sustainable economic development.

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have resilient buildings solutions for climate change adapted to our social and economic realities. But we need to reproduce, duplicate and expand them on a larger scale. The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction is a real opportunity for us to share know-how and mobilize actors around this challenge of housing the growing urban population. This Alliance will enable us to capitalize on achievements, pool efforts and promote innovation. Above all, we count on this initiative to help us mobilize funding and technology to meet the challenge to enable us to generalize viable and sustainable construction. Our particular expectation of this global initiative is to make eco-buildings competitive in our sub-region. Indeed, we legitimately think that Senegal is no longer in the demonstration phase in this field. Also, we would like to move to the phase of investment in local and sustainable construction. Thank you.

His Excellency Mr Abdoulaye Balde, Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Republic of Senegal

His Excellency Minister Abdoulaye Balde, Republic of Senegal