As part of the Latin America and Caribbean Climate Week, the United Nations Environment Programme, in collaboration with the GlobalABC, organised a session dedicated to "Transformation Opportunities: Urban Environments". This session highlighted the challenges and opportunities that cities and urban environment will face in regard to the climate crisis ahead, focusing on shaping what the city of 2050 will look like, on the importance of policy making for market and behavioral transformation, and on the business and finance market transformations. By bringing together the experience of climate experts and transformation leaders, the event presented the fundamental role of cities and their built environment in climate action, the importance of all stakeholders' involvement – including the private sector and civil society, and the many projects and initiatives that are already and will be taking place in the LAC region.
In this context, the built environment was put forward as a key sector for achieving the climate targets. As outlined by the UK High-Level Climate Champion Nigel Topping, there is an urgent need to use the economic recovery packages, developed as a response to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, to transform the built environment in cities. The buildings and construction sector is responsible for 39% of total global energy-related CO2 emissions and hence, a Paris Agreement compliant world cannot be achieved without a radical transformation of this sector in all regions of the world. For this purpose, the GlobalABC Regional Roadmap for buildings and construction in Latin America was presented as a methodology and a process to assist cities and countries in establishing a framework for the complete decarbonisation of buildings across their life cycle, with examples of policies, technologies and financing mechanisms that are present in the LAC region.
To put it succinctly, participants in the session stressed the need for increased ambition towards the achievement of the Paris Agreement, and that highlighted the fact that cities play a key role in accelerating the transition towards a zero-carbon, resilient and inclusive future in LAC. Climate action is everyone's responsibility, and only by working together at all levels and with all stakeholders can we achieve our vision of the city of 2050.
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Watch the recordings of the Urban Environments session: