As we make buildings greener, residents and workers need a voice

(Context, 17 Nov 2022) On the final day COP27, world leaders must drive a rapid but just transition of our built environment.

Amol Mehra is director of industry transformation at Laudes Foundation, and Ambet E. Yuson is general secretary of the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI).

‘Human settlements’ is a key theme on the final day of COP27, but to meet our Paris commitments, the built environment must become central to the climate transition.

Adequate housing is recognised as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Still, for millions of people this right is out of reach.

Today, at least 100 million people in the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region are overburdened by their housing cost, with young people finding it particularly difficult. Worse yet, in a global region of relative affluence, 22% of low-income residents live in a dwelling with a leaking roof, rot or damp walls, floors or foundations.

We work, live and meet in buildings. They shape all aspects of our lives, including their design, ownership and occupancy. And the built environment contributes almost 40% of carbon dioxide emissions.

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Context, 17 Nov 2022: As we make buildings greener, residents and workers need a voice