Success for the International Conference on Architecture and Climate Change

This year the UIA together with the National Council of the Order of Architects (CNOA Morocco) in partnership with the African Union of Architects (AUA), the Union of the Mediterranean Architects (UMAR) and the Organization of the Arab Architects (OAA) organized the International Conference “Architecture and Climate Change” to commemorate the UNFCC’s COP 22 in Marrakech comes at the most appropriate moment to reinforce the commitments for the implementation of the New Urban Agenda.  The event was a great success with more than 400 participants attending the daylong conference at the Palais de Congress, Marrakech on 7th November 2016. It was officiated in the morning by the Morrocan Honorable Minister Driss Merroun, Minister of Urbanism and Planning and Honorable Minister Mohamed Nabil Benabdellah, Minister of Housing and City Policy, indicating the awareness of the government of Morocco on the important role that the architects play to combat the impact of climate change. The Honorable Minister Mohamed Nabil articulated this very well in his keynote speech.
Many thanks and congratulations to the National Council of the Order of Architects (CNOA Morocco) for taking the lead in organizing this conference particularly the President Abdelouahid Montassir and convener Mohamed Omran Chaoui for working hard to make the conference a success.
While there were a diverse number of eminent international speakers, the message was clear and in common for all to observe the need to revolutionize our approach to design and planning that would ensure sustainable and resilient human settlement. The challenge for architects is to develop solutions that will drastically reduce the energy consumption and emission of GHG that are related to buildings. It includes measures for carbon neutral building developments and planning of cities.  Alternative methods of transportation and urban mobility are to be explored to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel.On the 9th November, the Global Alliance on Building and Construction group conducted a round table discussion to see the future of the building and construction industry. The roundtable also served as a precursor to the larger side event of the “Buildings Day’ on 10th November.

Nearly 20% of GHG emission globally is related to buildings and the GABC aims to promote aggressively for zero carbon development measures with a roadmap and template for building. The rate of urbanization that will result in the 70% of the world population living in cities means the volume of building will grow accordingly. The energy demand will increase by 5o% in 2050.  Measures to increase investments in energy efficiency, low carbon building design and construction, use of renewable energy, recycling waste to energy must be taken.
Climate change initiative is not going to be dependent on governments alone, particularly when there are several levels of governments. At the local level, the cooperation between the public and private sector is crucial to achieve these objectives. Engaging the community in building capacity and developing knowledge to benefit from the climate change initiatives is also important. A number of agencies in various countries have embarked on networking and partnership to share knowledge and experiences through “city to city” initiatives as an example.
The COP 22 village where meetings, seminars and exhibitions are held is a huge complex, which is very well planned, and user friendly. The exhibition pavilions are spacious and it is evident that the countries that participated were committed and serious in pursuing the opportunities in the climate change challenges. New technologies were being exhibited and local governments and communities are deploying proactive measures on energy efficiency.
Esa Mohamed
UIA President