Buildings Breakthrough target: “near-zero emission and resilient buildings are the new normal by 2030”
Breakthrough Agenda context
At COP26 in November 2021, 45 world leaders, whose governments collectively represent over 70% of global GDP, launched the Breakthrough Agenda, aiming at strengthening international collaboration on decarbonizing high-emitting sectors (Transport, Power, Hydrogen, Steel, and Agriculture) and making clean technologies and sustainable solutions the most affordable, accessible and attractive option in all regions by 2030.
Under this Agenda, leaders agreed to review progress annually and explore priority international actions needed to accelerate the Breakthroughs, informed by an annual independent expert report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and UN High-Level Champions. The inaugural Breakthrough Agenda Report 2022 was published in September 2022.
Buildings Breakthrough context
Despite the buildings sector being a heavyweight for climate action (around 37 percent of CO2 emissions and over 34 percent of global final energy demand come from buildings and construction), a Buildings Breakthrough was not part of this Breakthrough Agenda.
At the Bonn Climate Change Conference in June 2022, it was announced by Mr. Stéphane Crouzat, French Climate Change Ambassador, that France (Ministry of Ecological Transition) and the Kingdom of Morocco (Ministry of National Territory and Urban Planning, Housing, and City Policy) would co-lead a Buildings Breakthrough Target, with the support of other willing governments. The governments of France and the Kingdom of Morocco reaffirmed their co-leadership of the target at the 13th Clean Energy Ministerial and 7th Mission Innovation (CEM13/MI·7); at the 2022 UN General Assembly; and at the COP27 Breakthrough Agenda Ministerial on 11 November 2022.
On 17 November 2022, during the event titled "A call for a Buildings Breakthrough as a rallying point" held at the COP27 Buildings Pavilion, the co-leading countries, together with the UK High-Level Climate Champion, the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) Executive Director, and multiple high-level country and initiative representatives, joined forces issuing an official call to all countries to join the Buildings Breakthrough to accelerate the transition to sustainable buildings for everyone everywhere.
Buildings Breakthrough target
Near-zero emission and resilient buildings are the new normal by 2030.
Explanation of terms
- New buildings and deep renovation are both concerned.
- “Near-zero emission buildings” are high energy-efficient buildings with a low carbon footprint taking into account a whole life cycle assessment approach (meaning using a low GHG energy source, and built with low GHG building materials and equipment.
- “Resilient Buildings” are buildings that integrate specifications related to the future climate in their design, construction, and operation maintenance.
- “New normal” means the above concepts are generalized in engineered buildings (formal and semi-formal).
Buildings Breakthrough leadership
The Buildings Breakthrough is co-led by France (Ministry for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion) and the Kingdom of Morocco (Ministry of National Territory Planning, Land Planning, Housing and City Policy), and coordinated under the umbrella of the UNEP-hosted Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC).
We, governments, gathered under the banner of the Buildings Breakthrough will collectively act to achieve worldwide near-zero emission and resilient buildings are the new normal by 2030.
To date, 26 countries have joined the Buildings Breakthrough: Armenia, Austria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Liberia, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Sudan, Sweden, Tunisia, Türkiye, the UK, and Zambia.
In addition, 15 initiatives have announced their support to be listed as leading initiatives.
- List of Buildings Breakthrough supporting countries (in alphabetical order):
Armenia: Urban Development Committee
Austria: Ministry of Climate Action and Energy
Canada: Natural Resources Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada
Côte d’Ivoire: Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Egypt: Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Communities
Ethiopia: Ministry of Urban Development and Infrastructure
Finland: Ministry of Environment
France: Ministry for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion
(Buildings Breakthrough co-lead)
Germany: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Guinea-Bissau: Ministry of Public Works, Construction and Urban Planning
Japan: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT)
Jordan: Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources
Kenya: Ministry of Lands,Public Works, Housing & Urban Development
Liberia: Ministry of Mines and Energy
Mauritania: Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD)
Mongolia: Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Morocco: Ministry for National Territory Planning, Land Planning, Housing and City Policy
(Buildings Breakthrough co-lead)
The Netherlands: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; Construction and Energy Department
Norway: Ministry of Climate and Environment
Senegal: Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development
Sudan: Ministry of Urban Development and Roads and Bridges
Sweden: Ministry of Rural Affairs and Infrastructure
Tunisia: Ministry of Equipment and Housing
Türkiye: Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change
UK: Department for Energy Security and Net Zero
Zambia: Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development
- List of Buildings Breakthrough supporting initiatives
- The WBCSD Built Environment Transformation Program.
- WorldGBC Advancing Net Zero; Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment.
- WorldGBC BuildingLife Programme.
- Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB; co-led by GIZ/AFD).
- WRI Zero Carbon Building Accelerator.
- WRI Building Efficiency Accelerator.
- C40 Clean Construction programme, including the Clean Construction Accelerator.
- C40 Private Building Efficiency (PBE)
- C40 New Building Efficiency (NBE) networks and the associated Net Zero Buildings Accelerator.
- The GlobalABC Market Transformation Work Area.
- The Clean Heat Forum.
- The BuildingToCOP coalition.
- The Solar Impulse Foundation.
- The Building Capacity for Resilient Buildings Program (led by the International Code Council)
- Cool Coalition
Milestones to come
How to join?
Here is a document explaining how to join the Buildings Breakthrough. Additional countries and initiatives interested in joining or supporting the Buildings Breakthrough are also invited to contact the GlobalABC Secretariat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
News on the Buildings Breakthrough
- 14 September 2023. The International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions launched the 2023 Breakthrough Agenda Report. The 2023 edition, following the development of the Buildings Breakthrough, includes a Buildings chapter, developed in collaboration with GlobalABC and where five areas are identified as priorities for international collaboration to deliver near-zero emissions and resilient buildings: Standards and certification; Demand creation; Finance and investment; Research and deployment; and Knowledge and capacity-building.
- 16 April 2023. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and Ministry of the Environment (MOE) jointly hosted the "G7 Ministers’ Meeting on Climate, Energy and Environment" on April 15 and 16, 2023, in Sapporo, Hokkaido. The meeting adopted a Ministers’ communiqué and its annexes, where the importance of decarbonizing buildings’ lifecycles in combatting climate change was noted; the progress made towards launching the Buildings Breakthrough was recognised; and sector/issue-specific initiatives, such as the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), were welcomed. Read the full G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers’ Communiqué.