High-visibility for the built environment at COP23

Ursula Hartenberger

Global Head of Sustainability (RICS)

In recognition of the crucial role the built environment plays in reducing carbon emissions, the buildings sector will enjoy high levels of visibility at this years 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23). The annual climate change conference convened by the United Nations aims to move forward the commitments made at COP21 under the Paris Agreement in 2015. COP23 takes place from 6 to 17 November 2017 in Bonn, Germany.

As part of our own commitments to support the global climate agenda, RICS will join member states and sector leaders as part of the  Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (Global ABC)  which was established to scale up the sector’s action in meeting the fundamental aim of the Paris Agreement: to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees centigrade.

The Global ABC, created at COP21 and of which we're a founding partner, has at its core the overarching goal of COP23:

To harness innovation, enterprise and investment to fast track the development and deployment of climate solutions that will build future economies with net zero greenhouse gas emissions, in an effort to limit the rise of global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Setting the scene: Building Action Symposium

On 9 November this action will very much be at the heart of the Building Action Symposium, a public event that will kick off the 4-day event programme. The objective of this day is to identify key actions to achieving low-carbon, energy efficient buildings and a construction sector that will help to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Turning theory into practice: Best practice examples on the ground

To illustrate that it is possible to walk the talk, a guided tour by the Federal Chamber of German Architects will showcase a selection of local buildings that are exemplary for sustainable architecture, including a day care centre and student housing.

Bringing about change within the construction and real estate sector: Human Settlements Day

Taking onboard recommendations from the Building Action Symposium, Human Settlements Day will explore high impact change agents and measures, the role of private sector engagement and how to link buildings to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In September 2015, the UN adopted these 17 goals that will inform the economic, political and social policies of every member state over the next 15 years with the aim of eradicating poverty, protecting the climate and ensure economic prosperity.

Linking buildings to the Sustainable Development Goals: SDG11 Day

Finally, Monday, 13 November is SDG11 Day will see a high-level dialogue between country representatives and senior industry leaders focused on ensuring the buildings sector delivers against key relevant  UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG7 – Ensure access to affordable and clean energy),
  • SDG11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • SDG13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

COP23 will take place at the headquarters of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat in Bonn, Germany under the presidency of the Republic of Fiji.

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