International collaboration - 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 of Ecological Transition) 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, 18 countries have joined/are supporting the Buildings Breakthrough: Armenia, Austria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Mauritania, Mongolia, Morocco, The Netherlands, Norway, Senegal, Sudan, Sweden, Türkiye, and the UK.
In addition, 13 initiatives from 8 organisations have announced their support to be listed as leading initiatives.
- List of Buildings Breakthrough supporting countries (in alphabetical order):
Armenia: Urban Development Committee
France: Ministry of Ecological Transition
(Buildings Breakthrough co-lead)
Norway: Ministry of Climate and Environment
Austria: Ministry of Climate Action and Energy
Germany: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
Senegal: Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development
Canada: Natural Resources Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada
Mauritania: Ministry for Environment and Sustainable Development (MEDD)
Sudan: Ministry of Urban Development and Roads and Bridges
Côte d’Ivoire: Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
Mongolia: Ministry of Environment and Tourism
Sweden: Ministry of Rural Affairs and Infrastructure
Ethiopia: Ministry of Urban Development and Infrastructure
Morocco: Ministry for National Territory Planning, Land Planning, Housing and City Policy
(Buildings Breakthrough co-lead)
Türkiye: Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change
Finland: Ministry of Environment
The Netherlands: Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations; Construction and Energy Department
UK: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)
- 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.
Milestones to come
- March 2023: The Buildings Breakthrough is expected to be officially approved (TBC) at the 2023 CEM Senior Officials’ Meeting and MI Annual Gathering in Rio, Brazil
- May 2023: GlobalABC Annual Assembly
- June/July 2023: The Buildings Breakthrough is expected to be officially launched (TBC) at CEM/MI in India.
- September 2023: Climate Ambition Summit; Climate Week NYC
- November/December 2023: COP28 in UAE
2023 Work Plan
- The co-lead countries will invite additional countries and initiatives to join by mid-2023.
- At the 2023 GlobalABC Annual Assembly, the co-lead countries will release a paper to specify the Buildings Breakthrough target terms and the key clean technologies for near-zero emission and resilient buildings.
- The GlobalABC Secretariat and co-lead countries will undertake a mapping of existing initiatives.
- The leading initiatives will provide an overview of their activities linked with the Buildings Breakthrough.
- A Buildings Chapter as part of the “Breakthrough Agenda Report 2023”, including recommendations on priority enabling conditions, actions, and metrics to track progress will be drafted. Key elements will be discussed during the CEM/MI in India. The “Breakthrough Agenda Report 2023” is expected to be published around September 2023.
- The Buildings Breakthrough is expected to be officially approved at CEM/MI senior officials’ meeting in March in Brazil, and officially launched at CEM/MI ministerial meeting in India (TBC).
- Participating countries will discuss and determine priority actions for COP28 in UAE. Each action should be supported by at least one leading initiative.
How to join?
Additional countries and initiatives interested in joining or supporting the Buildings Breakthrough are invited to contact the GlobalABC Secretariat at email@example.com.
The GlobalABC promotes national alliances that bring together key public, private and civil society stakeholders, to overcome the fragmented value chain and jointly work towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector. National alliances offer recommendations for policymakers and actively work to enhance economic activity. Typical pursuits range from awareness-raising, training sessions and project assistance to legislative lobbying. National alliances have been successfully established in France, Germany, Mexico, Morocco and Tunisia, in many cases inspired by GlobalABC.
Learn more on this presentation by the Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB). Read PEEB's full report: National alliances