Asia’s sustainability goals towards renewable energy and energy efficiency | UNEP | Arab Hoballah

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Renewable energy has an important role to play in meeting future energy needs and achieving environment sustainability. The need of developing countries to enhance their renewable energy  will satisfy the demand for green energy and sustainability goals. The linkage between energy and sustainable environment development must be understood in order to design effective strategies. In accordance with this,UNEP is on a mission to provide and encourage the environment caring partnership by creating sustainable structure and use is a way to translate the sustainability concept into action.

Arab Hoballah, The Chief Sustainable Lifestyles, Cities and Industry of UNEP, addresses exclusively to AsiaGreenBuildings about the plan to support Asian in renewable energy and energy efficiency sector, the future sustainable building practice in Asia, the further  development of energy consumption and production efficiency in the building sector and how they achieve the sustainable goals beyond 2015.

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How can United Nations Environment Programmes support Asian countries in areas such as renewable energy and energy efficiency within built environment?

We actively support further development of renewable energy and energy efficiency in Asia, most relevantly through UNEP’s Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), which facilitates the transfer of technologies through three core services:

  1. Providing technical assistance at the request of developing countries to accelerate the transfer of climate technologies
  2. Creating access to information and knowledge on climate technologies
  3. Fostering collaboration among climate technology stakeholders via the CTCN’S network of regional and sector experts from academia, the private sector, and public and research institutions.

How do you foresee the future of policies on renewable energy and sustainable buildings practices in Asia?

Many countries in Asia are already aggressively working to increase renewable energy and improve sustainable building practices, which shows strong leadership in the region. The Asian region and sub-Saharan Africa are expected to experience substantial urbanization and growth.

Asia will need to begin focusing on broader resource efficiency. This can be achieved by looking at means to first reduce demand for resources, and then find ways to more efficiently utilize those needed resources. Such resources include cement and concrete, aluminium, steel, copper and non-ferrous metals, water, waste and other resources.

Countries like Vietnam, China, India and Myanmar are currently trying to mainstream resource efficiency into policy agendas. How successfully do you think they are and what kind of assistance is provided from UNEP?

The fact that these countries are beginning to focus on fostering greater resource efficiency can already be considered a success.

A number of initiatives in these countries show great promise – the work and commitment to building energy efficient codes, the improved energy performance of commercial buildings and even their work and contribution to broader resource efficiency efforts, such as UNEP’s Sustainable Rice platform, provides hope for a more sustainable future.

UNEP is pleased to support these efforts through partnerships like the Global Initiative for Resource Efficient Cities which is working closely with stakeholders in China and through efforts to support the development of Building Energy Efficiency Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in Vietnam, which is also being supported by TERI in India.

How can the current energy consumption and production efficiency indicators in the building sector be further developed, especially in Asia?

Given the diverse stakeholders involved in building construction and usage, metrics and indicators need to be structured in a way that allows people of diverse backgrounds to provide data and understand the process. Further work on metrics is needed to ensure accuracy and validity of both the inputs and the outputs.

We must ensure that we are measuring what needs to be measured, and that the indicators support actionable measures. This will require engaging the public and private sectors in pilot testing of metrics, like UNEP’s Common Carbon Metric or similar initiatives. Pilot testing will help to build capacity of local actors but also help to further refine and strengthen the development of indicators and metrics needed for a sustainable built environment.

What does UNEP aim to achieve in relation to the sustainable goals beyond 2015?

UNEP is home to a wide variety of projects and focal areas, but for the purposes of the topic of our dialogue, the building and construction sectors need to continue focusing on improving their resource efficiency to effectively contribute to delivering the sustainable development goals beyond 2015.

 We must learn to do more with less resource inputs, whether it is cement, metals, water or other natural resources. Furthermore, we will continue to promote an integrated and holistic approach to buildings and cities. Resource efficiency in the built environment is not only driven by the building design and construction process but is also shaped and influences the way cities meet other needs, from transport to urban health and liveability.

We will continue to invest and work on integrated indicators and approaches for the development of resilient and resource-efficient cities. Looking beyond 2015 is one of the primary reasons UNEP is working closely with UN Habitat as well as collectively launching the Greener Cities Partnership which focuses on waste and wastewater, sustainable transport and mobility in resilient and resource-efficient cities.

Last but not least, at Rio+20, 2012, the world leaders have approved the 10 Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, known as the 10YFP, aimed at further promoting and delivering sustainable consumption and production at all levels, and in close partnership with all concerned stakeholders. Co-led by Finland, the World Green Building Council, the RMIT University and UNEP, the programme was launched in April 2015 with the following global work areas:

  • Establish, promote, and enable conditions for sustainable building and construction policies
  • Support and promote sustainable housing
  • Enhance sustainability in the building supply chain
  • Reduce climate impact and strengthen climate resilience of the building and construction sector

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This exclusive interview is facilitated under a Media Partnership with the upcoming EcoCity World Summit, at which Arab Hoballahi is a speaker.

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About UNEP

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading global environmental authority that sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment.

http://www.unep.org

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