Building professionals from some 20 countries across Africa concluded a three-day conference in Nairobi with a declaration of commitment to promote and foster green building practices in Africa, and a call to form an African Network of Green Building Councils.
The conference, on “Promoting Green Building Rating in Africa”, was held 4-6 May, and hosted by the UN-HABITAT at its Nairobi headquarters.
The “Nairobi Declaration on Green Building in Africa” noted the tremendous environmental and social challenges that rapid urbanization poses for Africa, and participants committed themselves to, among other things, promote green practices, from planning, design, construction and operation of the built environment, as well as to the use of appropriate building materials, technologies, services and processes that minimize green house gas emissions in Africa.
The builders also stressed the importance of exploring traditional building practices that have proven to be environmentally beneficial, while at the same time addressing the continent’s critical need for mass housing constructions.
Participants further called for the formation of national Green Building Councils in African countries. Under the auspices of the World Green Building Council, these Councils would advocate for green building practices, develop tools that rate the environmental performance of buildings, and strengthen the capacity of building professionals.
At present only South Africa boasts an established Green Building Council on the continent, while Mauritius, Morocco, and Egypt have fledgling Councils. Another is in the works in Ghana.
Inspired by an address by the Executive Director of the World Green Building Council, Ms Jane Henley and encouraged by representatives of several Green Building Councils from Africa and beyond, a number of participants declared their intentions to go home to form their own Green Building Councils.
Further they called for the creation of a Network of African Green Building Councils that would, under the guidance of the World Green Building Council, support the establishment of these forward-looking Councils in African countries.
Ms Henley saluted UN-HABITAT’s initiative. “While we grapple with many challenges today, sustainable building is one tangible step that individuals, companies and governments all over the world can take to build communities that face these challenges head on. It is great to be part of so many African nations coming together to find solutions and create opportunities for sustainable building in Africa”.