COP26 was a positive step forward in the fight against climate change, but as the UN Secretary General pointed out in his comments: “it is not enough. We must accelerate climate action to keep alive the goal of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.” The compromise deal reflects the interests, contradictions and political will in the world today.
Housing and Land Management
The world’s urban areas are responsible for the vast majority of CO2 emissions. But cities, led by Mayors, are pushing forward the climate action that will be vital to keep the 1.5°C target alive, adapting to climate change impacts, and making their voices heard alongside national governments at COP26.
Increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events due to climate change that can lead to industrial accidents and unchecked urban and regional development could together be a recipe for disaster, warn the UN and the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.
Cities’ growing role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda has led to increased global attention on localizing SDGs. The preparation of Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs) enables the review of SDG implementation at a local level. VLRs complement Voluntary National Reviews developed at the country level, ensuring a more detailed and nuanced assessment of progress toward implementing the 2030 Agenda at a country level.
Humanity is facing not one but three intertwined crises: the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and a lack of adequate and affordable housing.
An exhibition of urban sketches by Architect Norman Foster is opening today at the Palais des Nations on the occasion of the UNECE Ministerial Meeting on Urban Development, Housing and Land Management (6-8 October). The sketches present visions of city planning that incorporate concepts of sustainable urban development and innovation such as energy efficient housing, sensitivity to local culture and values, the upgrading of informal settlements and access to green spaces.
Approximately 50 million people in the UNECE region live in inadequate housing conditions. In the 21st century, the governance, land and finance systems that influence the delivery and consumption of housing have been beset by numerous crises.
Globally, 690 million people suffer from hunger and three billion cannot afford healthy, nutritious food. Despite this, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that one-third of all food fit for consumption is either lost during the production or shipping process or wasted. Access to healthy food is another issue altogether, with, particularly, many cities facing an increase in the number of urban areas known as “food deserts”, areas with limited access to affordable, nutritious food.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a multi-dimensional effect on the UNECE region, causing the worst economic contraction in decades. Cities and urban areas, with their high population density and interconnectivity, were particularly vulnerable and encountered major disruptions.
Improving energy efficiency is a cost-effective means to support economic development while contributing to climate action. On a national scale, energy efficiency helps strengthen energy security, reduce energy expenditure, slow down energy demand growth, reduce investment needs for new generation capacities, and creates green jobs. Out of all sectors of economic activity, in many countries, the buildings sector has the largest potential for cost-effective improvement in energy efficiency and emissions reductions.