Buildings With Near-Zero Emissions By 2030 Announced At COP28

The Governments of France and Morocco, together with the UN Environment Program (UNEP), launched the Buildings Breakthrough at the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28), which will see countries joining forces to accelerate the transformation. The building sector accounts for 21% of global greenhouse gas emissions. So far, 27 countries have pledged their commitment to the Buildings Breakthrough, with the goal of making near-zero emissions and climate resilient buildings the new normal by 2030.

The Buildings Breakthrough is part of the Breakthrough Agenda, providing 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 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 toward near-zero emissions and resilient buildings.”

The 27 countries pledging 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, 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 to 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 March 7 and 8, 2024, in Paris. This forum will bring together construction ministers from around the world, as well as stakeholders across the buildings sector value chain, including local authorities, non-governmental organizations, and businesses.

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 toward near-zero emissions and resilient buildings by 2030.