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Solving a global challenge needs a regional approach

29 November 2023


The UNFCCC hosts Regional Climate Weeks ahead of the annual UN Climate Change Conference (COP) to build momentum and create opportunities for stakeholders to formulate shared positions and advocacy goals. This year, ahead of COP28 in Dubai, four such Regional Climate Weeks were held – Africa Climate Week in Nairobi, Kenya; Middle East and North Africa Climate Week in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week in Panama City, Panama; and Asia-Pacific Climate Week in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The contributions from these events will feed into COP28 and the conclusion of the first Global Stocktake, designed to chart the way for fulfilling the Paris Agreement’s key goals. As the largest and most influential local-regional-global action network, leading the transformation to sustainable and decarbonised built environments, World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) and our Regional Networks worked to ensure that buildings and construction were recognised as a pivotal solution for a zero-carbon future.

What did we learn


The Africa Climate Summit resulted in the Nairobi Declaration and commitment to promoting investment in building climate-resilient cities and urban centres as well as accelerating the implementation of the Africa Union Climate Change and Resilient Development Strategy and Action Plan (2022-2023) that specifically calls for investment in the circular economy, smart mobility and decarbonisation and net zero carbon buildings.

This has led calls to the regional and national governments to develop and implement policies, regulations and incentives aimed at attracting local, regional and global investment in green growth and inclusive economies. The Africa Regional Network of WorldGBC has set out actions needed from policymakers and businesses across the continent to deliver the Africa We Want in our Africa Manifesto for Sustainable Cities and the Built Environment.

Actions for the built environment

  • The built environment needs to focus economic development plans on climate-positive growth, including expansion of just energy transitions and renewable energy generation for industrial activity, climate-aware and restorative agricultural practices, and essential protection and enhancement of nature and biodiversity.
  • This represents a huge potential for the built environment to provide investment opportunities in urban infrastructure including upgrading informal settlements and slum areas to build climate resilient, inclusive cities and urban centres. By fostering collaboration between the public and private sectors, we can explore innovative financing options like pension funds to make projects viable.
  • In the build up to COP28, accountability is key. We need to commit to backing climate action statements with robust statistics and better utilise data and metrics to guide our journey towards a sustainable future.


“The Africa Regional Climate Week was revolutionary in many ways since it occurred at the same time as the inaugural Africa Climate Summit, which saw the continent take charge of its narrative, and have a unified position on climate action.”

Nasra Nanda, CEO, Kenya Green Building Society


MENA Climate Week

Convening under the theme “Advancing Inclusivity and Circularity for Just and Equitable Energy Transitions”, MENA Climate Week focused on three main pillars: transformation, inclusion, and solutions.

The outcomes include three major announcements for advancing global climate goals, on Saudi Arabia’s Greenhouse Gas Crediting and Offsetting Mechanism (GCOM), The Roadmap to Reaching the Saudi Green Initiative’s 10 Billion Tree Target, and The Empowering Africa Initiative, building on the foundation of the Clean Fuel Solutions for Cooking programme.

Actions for the built environment

  • We continue to work with our partners and Green Building Councils (GBCs) on the development of the Zero Carbon Readiness Framework in the MENA Region. This can be used to develop a mindset and system for zero carbon, including electrification, clean cooking, and Greenhouse Gas Crediting and Offsetting Mechanism (GCOM). 
  • Integration of nature and nature-based solutions for a regenerative transition, especially considering the areas with arid climate and water scarcity. How do we best design in accordance with nature in the MENA region? See our Circular Built Environment Playbook for best practice examples and strategies.
  • MENA is characterised with a young average population with a significant portion of the population being under the age of 25. There are already youth communities that are driving actions forward on global climate action – which paves the way for collaboration opportunities and engagement. For example, the MENA Green School Initiative, led by EmiratesGBC, EgyptGBC, and LebanonGBC, and Regional Partner Dar, is a transformative movement that promotes sustainability and environmental awareness in schools across the Middle East and North Africa region.


“As the MENA Climate Week 2023 unfolds, we are reminded of the immense potential the built environment holds in combating climate change, especially in the run-up to COP28. We can create a resilient future for our region through sustainable & energy-efficient designs, integrating solar and other renewable energy sources and collaborative efforts. Let us seize this opportunity to inspire innovation, drive policy change, and transform our built environments into beacons of sustainability.”

Raji Hattar, Chair, MENA Regional Network


Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week (LACCW)

LACCW followed the four systems-based tracks, each focusing on specific themes of energy systems and industry; cities, urban and rural settlements, infrastructure and transport; land, ocean, food and water; and societies, health, livelihoods, and economies.

Actions for the built environment

  • Accelerate climate action which incorporates inclusion and affordability.  
  • Increase focus on adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change. See our Climate Change and Resilience guide.
  • Learn from the leadership which is already happening in the region. The achievements of Green Building Councils from the region includes building efficiency and zero carbon readiness, and national and regional decarbonisation roadmaps in Colombia and Chile, Costa Rica and México.


“It was a great experience to participate in the Regional Climate Week and be part of the conversation and discuss the importance of resilience in our cities and our buildings. It was inspiring to see the regional impact we are making through the World Green Building Council Americas Regional Network, which drives local actions in Latin America.”

Pamela Castellán, CEO, Guatemala GBC and Americas Regional Chair, WorldGBC  WorldGBC


Asia Pacific Climate Week

The central theme revolved around the energy transition, encompassing aspects of master planning, transportation, policy-making, design, and the implementation of renewable energy solutions. 

Additionally, the dialogues underscored the pivotal role of the Asia Pacific region in global greenhouse gas emissions. This region is not only a major contributor to climate change mitigation efforts but also bears the brunt of its impacts most profoundly. 

With the region experiencing rapid growth, it becomes increasingly imperative for the industry to respond swiftly and with a sense of urgency.

Actions for the built environment

  • Increase awareness of low carbon cities. This includes recognising the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas through sustainable practices in energy, transportation, and infrastructure development. It involves learning about the strategies and methodologies that cities can adopt to minimise their carbon footprint, thereby contributing significantly to global climate change mitigation.
  • Grasping the principles of sustainable design is essential. Key principles include optimising natural resources, reducing waste, promoting renewable energy use, and creating green spaces. Understanding these principles helps in designing urban environments that are sustainable, liveable, and resilient to environmental changes.
  • Identifying and utilising tools that can be applied locally to promote sustainability. This includes the use of software for energy modelling in buildings, tools for assessing carbon footprints, and systems for efficient resource management. Local application also means adapting these tools to fit the unique environmental, cultural, and economic contexts of different Asia Pacific regions.


“The Asia Pacific region must urgently prioritise renewable energy, sustainable urban development, and robust policy frameworks. Strengthening regional collaboration on energy sharing, integrating climate resilience, and investing in green finance will support this transition. Emerging too is the need to empower our local communities and public awareness, supported by sustainable technology innovation as this alone will make the biggest difference toward addressing our climate challenges.”

Ar. (Dr.) Serina Hijjas, President, MalaysiaGBC


Building momentum towards COP28

As the largest contributing sector to carbon emissions, the built environment has the potential to tackle the tipping point in global warming, humanitarian challenges and economic uncertainties. This year’s COP will see the launch of the Buildings Breakthrough, setting the target of “Near-zero emissions and resilient buildings are the new normal by 2030”.

As these Regional Climate Weeks help to demonstrate, the action required to achieve these ambitions needs to happen through local action on the ground.

Our global network of over 75+ Green Building Councils can make the COP28 Action Agenda a reality. Through our network and their 46,000 members we can help governments and businesses implement the transition to an energy efficient, regenerative and just future

We are ready. Are you?



Regional Climate Week events attended or hosted by WorldGBC and regional Green Building Councils:

Africa Climate Week

  • Side Event – Scaling resilient building solutions for climate action in Africa. (WorldGBC and Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS))

Africa Climate Summit

  • Side Event – Building the Africa We Want: Advancing Sustainable Cities and Climate Finance for Africa’s Growing Population and Urban Landscape. (WorldGBC, Kenya Green Building Society (KGBS) and Mauritius GBC)

MENA Climate Week 

  • Building the Transition, MENA Zero Carbon Readiness. (WorldGBC, Mostadam, KSA, EmiratesGBC, EgyptGBC)
  • Leveraging Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Resilience. (WorldGBC in collaboration with UN Climate Change High-Level Champion)
  • MENA Coalition for Green Schools. (MENA Green Schools Initiative, EmiratesGBC and LebanonGBC)

Latin America and the Caribbean Climate Week

  • Advancing Building Decarbonization and Resilience in LAC Through International Cooperation. (Guatemala GBC, GBC Costa Rica) 

Asia Pacific Climate Week

  • Built Environments’ role in accelerating national energy transition. (WorldGBC and MalaysiaGBC)