15 March 2024

Déclaration de Chaillot lays groundwork for decarbonising the building sector

From 7-8 March 2024, a delegation of ICLEI experts from the European and World Secretariat attended the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in ICLEI Member Paris (France) to underscore the critical role subnational governments play in catalysing the decarbonisation and future-proofing of the built environment.

This milestone event was convened by the French Ministry of Ecological Transition and the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC), bringing together senior national officials and over 800 stakeholders from across the world to drive sustainability transformations in the built environment. Besides presenting in the context of a session dedicated to sustainability transformations of cultural heritage and existing buildings, experts explored new and strengthened existing partnerships with key change agents in relation to new construction and building renovation, whole-life carbon, financing and resilience.

The Forum culminated in the Déclaration de Chaillot - a joint statement adopted by 70 national governments that lays out an international collaboration framework for decarbonising and future-proofing the building sector. The Declaration establishes international consensus on the importance and urgency of ramping up climate mitigation and adaptation actions in building renovation as well as construction.

ICLEI Europe welcomes the Declaration’s acknowledgement to urgently decarbonise and future-proof the built environment while addressing the environmental impact and resource-intensity of the construction and renovation sector. The Secretariat furthermore applauds ministers’ recognition of, among others, the important role of financing, public procurement, circularity, biodiversity, codes and standards as well as broad stakeholder ecosystem engagement, collaboration and capacity building to catalyse change.

Likewise, the Declaration importantly recognises the central role of integrated urban planning and effective multi-level governance and the need to prioritise renovation to achieve a building breakthrough. However, the role of subnational governments to catalyse on-the-ground action requires a stronger emphasis.

The Declaration falls short of including cultural heritage and traditional skills and practices as powerful resources to address climate change as well as a stronger emphasis on inclusive and affordable housing, the support of vulnerable groups, gender and intersectionality. In this regard, it misses the opportunity to connect with the Emirates Declaration on Culture Based Climate Action and create synergies.

Overall, the current framework is seen to represent a robust starting point and baseline of consensus for integrated plans and actions to drive building sustainability in the Global North and South. ICLEI Europe looks forward to functioning as an agent of change, working with its Member Cities and governmental stakeholders on their journey to translate the resulting overarching framework into ambitious action.

Read the Déclaration de Chaillot in full here.