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The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction: an overview over status and achievements (5-year Review Piece)
GlobalABC Secretariat

The GlobalABC was founded as an umbrella or meta-platform – a network of networks – that brings together initiatives and actors along the entire buildings and construction sector value chain at COP21 in 2015 by a group of governments, businesses, intergovernmental, and non-profit organizations, at the initiative of the French government and UNEP. In the nearly six years since its launch, GlobalABC has created and continues to maintain a neutral, member-driven platform, growing from an initial 79 members to over 200 members, among which 34 countries. Its mission and vision are to connect governments, the private sector, and organisations to drive the transformation towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector to achieve a future-proof world for all buildings – both existing and new. GlobalABC members exchange knowledge, discuss challenges, and collaborate on tools and solutions for rapid decarbonisation of the built environment. In doing so, GlobalABC advocates for, helps develop and implement pathways, policies, strategies and initiatives for reducing climate impacts across the buildings and construction sector. It hereby focuses on both climate mitigation and adaption in support of a net-zero carbon, energy efficient and resilient sector.

Download the 5-year review to look back at the achievements of the GlobalABC and its community since its creation at COP21, and discover how the GlobalABC has succeeded in mobilizing all actors in the sector to raise the profile of buildings for climate action internationally, regionally and locally, to keep track of the progress in decarbonizing the sector and to support countries in transforming their policies through buildings and construction roadmaps. 

2022-03-22 | GlobalABC
2021 GlobalABC Annual Narrative Report
GlobalABC Secretariat

As the global pandemic continues to affect the ways we live and work in 2021, the GlobalABC maintained most of its activities in online format, with the exception of COP26, where events were held both in-person and online. This has been a year of great growth of GlobalABC in terms of range of activities, membership and visibility, made possible by engagement of our members and partners in advancing the central role of buildings in climate action. This is reflected in the MPGCA Human Settlements Pathway, where the GlobalABC has led the Built Environment track, and that provides a north star for the sector:

  • By 2030, the built environment should halve its emissions, whereby 100 per cent of new buildings must be net-zero carbon in operation, with widespread energy efficiency retrofit of existing assets well underway, and embodied carbon must be reduced by at least 40 per cent, with leading projects achieving at least 50 per cent reductions in embodied carbon.
  • By 2050, at the latest, all new and existing assets must be net zero across the whole life cycle, including operational and embodied emissions.

Download the report to read more. 

2021-02-05 | GlobalABC
2020 GlobalABC Annual Narrative Report
GlobalABC Secretariat

2020 has been an exceptional year in many ways. Due to the global pandemic, GlobalABC shifted most of its events and other activities online, starting with the GlobalABC Assembly which needed to be reconfigured at the last minute and took place entirely virtually; to dedicated sessions addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on the sector and looking at the contribution that the sector could make to build beck better if made part of recovery efforts; to several high-level events related to the UNFCCC process, also held in virtual format. Yet, GlobalABC was able to ensure outreach and member engagement. Overall, GlobalABC strengthened both, the visibility of the sector and radical collaboration across the sector’s value chain by effectively providing the collaborative platform for bringing all stakeholders together to work towards a zero-emission, efficient, and resilient buildings and construction sector. The flagship effort regarding the global and three regional roadmaps is a game changer, with the different member consortium efforts that are being rolled out to support additional regional roadmaps and national processes. With now over 150 members, GlobalABC has continued to grow our membership.

Download the report to read more.

2020-03-11 | GlobalABC
2019 GlobalABC Annual Narrative Report
GlobalABC Secretariat

The GlobalABC has made good progress against its key goals and milestones over the course of 2019, further cementing the foundations of the partnership, forging a common voice and vision and pathways for the needed transformation in the buildings and construction sector: The urgency of climate action in the buildings and construction sector continues to gather momentum with buildings included in the broader climate agenda and the COP25 schedule, from the SG’s Climate Summit to the regional climate weeks. National, sub-national and private sector actors are stepping up their ambition, leading to an increased number of commitments. The GlobalABC is established and recognised as the international platform that gathers a broad range of building and construction stakeholders and has stepped up its outreach and communication; for example, the social media presence in the lead up to the 2019 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction launch at a press conference at COP25 led to multiple press and web references.

Download the report to read more. 

2019-01-30 | GlobalABC
2018 GlobalABC Annual Narrative Report
GlobalABC Secretariat

The GlobalABC has achieved several milestones in 2018, laying the foundational work for the coming years, and advancing on each of its key tracks: The urgency of climate action in the buildings and construction sector has received heightened attention in major fora, national and sub-national actors and private sector are stepping up their action, and the GlobalABC is recognised as the international platform that gathers the multitude of stakeholders: The GlobalABC has increased global reach of key messages on the urgency of transforming the buildings and construction sector through a Global Status Report 2018 press conference at COP24.

Download the report to read more.

Renewables 2022 Global Status Report

Despite the promise of a worldwide green recovery in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, this historic opportunity has been lost. REN21’s Renewables 2022 Global Status Report sends a clear warning that the global clean energy transition is not happening, making it unlikely that the world will be able to meet critical climate goals this decade. The second half of 2021 saw the beginning of the biggest energy crisis in modern history, exacerbated by the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine in early 2022 and unprecedented global commodity shock.  

“Although many more governments committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2021, the reality is that, in response to the energy crisis, most countries have gone back to seeking out new sources of fossil fuels and to burning even more coal, oil and natural gas,” said Rana Adib, REN21 Executive Director. Below are some highlights from the report:

  • The share of renewables in global energy use stagnated in 2021, despite record additions to renewable power capacity. 
  • Rising energy consumption and a hike in fossil fuel use outpaced growth in renewables.  
  • The Ukraine war exacerbated a global energy crisis, creating windfall profits for fossil fuel companies while billions of people face the threat of energy poverty. 


Read the full report here

2022-06-02 | August Williams-Eynon; Lindsay Brugger
Resilient Retrofits: Climate Upgrades for Existing Buildings
Urban Land Institute (ULI)

The report introduces real estate actors, designers, policymakers, and finance professionals to the opportunities and challenges of preparing existing buildings for accelerating physical climate risks, including extreme temperatures, floods, storms and high winds, seismic risks, water stress/drought, and wildfires. The report includes the following:

  • The business case for resilient retrofits
  • A summary of several design strategies for each physical climate risk
  • A selection of public-sector policies influencing the retrofit context
  • An array of financing solutions applicable to retrofits 
2022-06-02 | Monika Henn
Renewable Energy Strategies for Real Estate
Urban Land Institute (ULI)

The path to decarbonization in real estate requires the integration of a renewable energy strategy, including both installed onsite and purchased offsite clean power. There is a strong business case for renewable energy, including lowering energy costs or reducing cost volatility, strengthening the utility grid, improving resilience, meeting net zero goals, and increasing tenant demand. However, there are challenges to assessing opportunities, deal structures, and financing mechanisms that limit market uptake. The Renewable Energy Strategies for Real Estate Report aims to help real estate practitioners understand the business case for renewables and develop a strategy to identify, prioritize, and execute renewable energy deals both on site and off site.
Renewable energy is not a new concept or startup technology. All types of buildings with varying ownership models and lease structures have been able to generate or procure renewable energy. With increasing stakeholder demand for sustainable real estate and a growing attention on setting net zero goals, renewable energy will play a large role in buildings of the future.

Model Government Zero Emissions Buildings Policy
New Buildings Institute

Released by New Buildings Institute, the Model Government Zero Emissions Buildings Policy provides plug-and-play policy language for jurisdictions considering taking a “lead by example” approach to building decarbonization. By using their own buildings to demonstrate how new technologies and operational procedures can both reduce energy and carbon emissions, governments can show the market what’s possible. They also demonstrate all the ways in which zero emissions buildings benefit owners, tenants and the general public—by lowering operating costs, reducing pollution and serving as comfortable, healthy places to work, live, learn and recreate.

2022-05-05 | Naomi Keena, Jonathan Duwyn, Anna Dyson
Biomaterials Supporting the Transition to a Circular Built Environment in the Global South
Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture

Building construction materials represent 11% of global carbon emissions and 28% of the annual buildings related CO2 emissions, and yet, the demand for construction materials continues to grow, especially in the rapidly urbanizing Global South. Biomaterials offer a key opportunity for decarbonizing the buildings and construction sector, through transitioning from current linear, extractive, and toxic construction practices towards circular, bio-based, renewable materials and construction methods for a sustainable future. While this transition has the potential to drastically reduce both the need for natural resources and the carbon footprint of urban growth, policy intervention is required to enable the sustainable development of biomaterials, contributing to 10 of the 17 SDGs.

Yale Center for Ecosystems in Architecture (Yale CEA) and UNEP are launching a new report entitled “Biomaterials Supporting the Transition to a Circular Built Environment in the Global South”. The report explores the transformational socio-economic and environmental impacts that an accelerated transition to a bio-based, circular material economy could have, particularly for the Global South.

Download the report here.

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