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Sustainable Construction in Cities – Turning the world’s building sector!

We need to acknowledge that a global turnaround for the buildings and construction sector is as important and necessary as never before. How we shape the built environment first and foremost in our cities and metropolitan areas is key to reach global climate and social development goals. How can we shape and thereby achieve the transformation in the construction sector? How can we prominently place this topic in the public discussion of climate protection? How can we help cities to finance this turnaround? This event will display and discuss the relevance, challenges and potentials of climate protection in transforming the urban buildings and construction sector with the German Development Cooperation (GDC) and partners from ministries, UN networks and urban think tanks from the Global South as well as Germany.

Priscilla Negreiros



Wednesday, June 29, 2022


Multifunction Hall Room 1
Federal Ministry For Economic Cooperation And Development (BMZ)
Building Resilience for Sustainable Urban Futures
NE 101


In the wake of rapid urbanization, the global building stock is expected to double in the next 30 years. Thereby, the construction sector is one of the most resource intense and environmentally damaging industries in the world. At the same time, a backlog in the provision of decent housing for all is becoming more and more apparent. If conventional materials were to continue to be used, this would consume up to 80% of the CO2 emissions budget of the 1.5-degree target. Today, the construction and operation of buildings worldwide makes up 40% of all energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Construction waste accounts for up to 60% of the national annual waste volume. To make matters worse, cities are finding it increasingly difficult in mobilizing finance to face these challenges. Simultaneously, we experience the rise of the urbanization of poverty: nearly a quarter of the world's urban population - almost 900 million people - live in informal settlements. This makes it very clear: the amount of future construction is at the same time challenge and chance to create a city that supports the future of humanity. How we shape the built environment first and foremost in our cities is key to reach climate and social development goals. Alternative credit assessment for low-income households and informally employed borrowers must be taken into consideration. Socially integrative and climate-neutral approaches must be found with the close involvement of the private construction and financial sectors. Within the event, we will therefore bring together actors from different backgrounds and levels. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will give insights on their integrative approach of sustainable urban development.  The next input, held by the Rwanda Housing Authority will give insights on how informality can be formalized and how sustainable approaches on the national level help to do so. This input will be followed by a panel discussion, to dive deeper in that topic including contributions by BMZ, Rwanda Housing Authority, UN-Habitat and UNEP. A second input will highlight experiences from Mexico in financing sustainable homes. The second panel discussion will further include contributions from REALL, at the interface of housing finance and environmentally viable solutions, and the World Bank, rounding it up with insights on financing large-scale urban construction measures and integrating social and environmental aspects into these approaches.


This event will display and discuss the relevance, challenges, and potentials of transforming the urban buildings and construction sector. One of the main objectives is to question and illustrate how building regulations on sustainable materials and construction methods are beneficial. How municipalities can be supported to provide funding for sustainable buildings and infrastructure, or how the inhabitants themselves be financially supported. And beyond that, to show how unplanned urban growth can be curbed and adequate housing for all be provided. Aiming at addressing and connecting an interdisciplinary mix of participants, ranging from experts from architecture, urban planning, and housing to the construction industry as well as representatives from national and municipal levels. Doing so by including inputs from various actors from both international and national organizations, the German Development Cooperation, UN networks and international knowledge institutions from the Global South. Thus, the networking event seeks to underline the triad of sustainably transforming the global urban building and construction sector: environmentally, socially, and economically. Existing networks and cooperation shall be expanded, synergies for new collaborations among actors shall be identified, and a clear follow-up for enhanced action be determined. Thus, partnerships and cooperation are strengthened and newly forged.

Session speakers

Ms. Heike Litzinger
Head of Division for urbanization, mobility and circular economy
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Mr. Vincent Rigwamba
Senior Urban Designer
Rwanda Housing Authority
Ms. Sharon Gil
Lead Circular Economy in Cities
Ms. Priscilla Negreiros
Cities Climate Finance Leadership Alliance Climate Policy Initiative
Ms. Alicia Regodón
Expert on Sustainable Housing
Ms. Patricia Mijares
Former Deputy Director of Sustainability Programme Operations and Advisor at Sociedad Hipotecaria Federal (SHF)
Ms. Lucy Livesley
Head of Secretariat (OIC) Climate and Clean Air Coalition; Head, Cities Unit Policy & External Affairs Director
Mr. Augustin Maria
Program Manager
World Bank