The GABC at COP23
During the recently concluded COP23, the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) hosted a series of events between the 9th and 13th of November 2017 to emphasize and strengthen the relevance of the buildings and construction sector in the climate change debate.
The first event, the Building Action Symposium, was held on 9 November 2017 at the Bonn premises of GIZ. This event showcased the role, activities, and the initial results of the work of the GABC and its working groups, including a preview of the Global Status Report for 2017. The event emphasized the importance of bringing together all stakeholders, from architects to policy makers, engineers, and, -importantly- occupants. His Excellency Mr Inia Seruiratu, High Level Climate Champion and Minister for Agriculture, Rural & Maritime Development, and National Disaster Management of the Republic of Fiji gave the closing remarks. The following day, a guided tour Showcasing exemplary sustainable architecture and buildings was given by the Federal Chamber of German Architects (BAK).
On the 11th of November, three high-level sessions were organized by the GABC during Human Settlements Day, with the overall theme Transforming the Buildings and Construction Sector. Sessions covered the pathways to zero-emission buildings (session 1), the contribution of buildings to the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs (session 2), and finally, eliciting ways of transforming the Buildings and Construction sector (session 3). These sessions underscored the need for energy efficiency in buildings (as a contributing factor to achieving the SDGs), either through renovation of existing building stock or focusing on new/future construction (particularly in emerging countries), as well as the need for knowledge sharing and training.
Both the Building Action Symposium and the Human Settlements Day Sessions stressed the need to elevate the place given to the buildings and construction sector in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), to align policies and regulations, to base efforts on science-based targets, as well as to assure enforcement, and increase capacity for accessing and using finance instruments. Another important point was data availability and quality and the need to recognize data as a public good. Participants at both events emphasized the need to put occupants in the centre – human factors, including well-being, comfort, and behavioural incentives are essential to transforming the buildings and construction sector.
A high-level dialogue on “Transforming markets for buildings to deliver against SDGs 11, 7 and 13.” took place on the 13th of November as part of SDG11 (Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable). The GABC welcomed panellists from Mexico, Finland, Poland, Vietnam, the US, Germany and from the private sector (Danfoss, Sekisui House, Green Building Council Italia and the German Green Building Council DGNB). Panellists discussed how to achieve scalable pilot projects which inspire replication and planning for compact and high-density cities, and how to build capacity and resource availability at all levels of governance and implementation.