Buildings have the largest potential for improving energy efficiency and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Decarbonizing the housing stock is very costly and creates a financial burden on inhabitants, often causing “energy poverty” among lower-income population. In the UNECE region which includes most of the “rich” countries in the world, almost 42 million face arrears on their utility bills and more than 52 million people cannot keep their home adequately warm. There is a need for implementing large scale housing renovation programmes that are affordable for all. Such programmes are essential to meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and related SDGs.
This side event presented the UNECE-Housing Europe-UN-Habitat study “#Housing2030: Effective policies for affordable housing in the UNECE region” containing a toolkit on affordable climate-neutral housing to demonstrate its use in mitigating potential negative social impacts of decarbonization strategies on vulnerable sections of society, particularly young people. The #Housing2030 study and an online platform at www.housing2030.org were launched on 6 October 2021 at the UNECE Housing Ministerial Meeting. The side event also informed about the “Place and Life in the ECE – A Regional Action Plan 2030: Tackling challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, climate and housing emergencies in region, city, neighbourhood and homes” which builds on conclusions of the #Housing2030 study; as well as other relevant tools and practices, including the UNECE High Performance Buildings Initiative.
Opening and side event objectives
Moderator: David Orr, Co-Chair, #Housing2030 Initiative, UK
• Prof. Brian Evans, City Urbanist, Glasgow City Council on behalf of Glasgow City Councillor, Susan Aitken
• Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary, UNECE (in-person)
• Mr. Bent Madsen, President, Housing Europe (online)
• Mr. Robert Lewis-Lettington, Chief of Section, UN-Habitat (online)
Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing
Mr. Balakrishnan Rajagopal (online)
Presentation of the #Housing2030 study and “Place and Life in the ECE – A Regional Action Plan 2030”
• Ms. Julie Lawson, Hon. Associate Professor, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia; and Europe (online)
• Prof. Holger Wallbaum, Professor in Sustainable Building, Chalmers University, Sweden (online)
• Prof. Brian Evans, City Urbanist, Glasgow City Council; and Director of the UNECE Centre of Excellence on Smart Sustainable Cities (in-person)
Launch of the film by the City of Glasgow “Living in Glasgow: A pathway to 2030″
Best practices on affordable climate-neutral housing
• Mr. Santiago Saura Martinez de Toda, Councillor for International Affairs and Cooperation, Madrid, Spain (in-person tbc)
• Ms. Sally Thomas, Director, Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, UK (in-person)
• Mr. Jonathan Duwyn, Programme Officer, Buildings and Construction, Cities Unit, Energy and Climate Branch, UNEP (online)
• Ms. Vivian Loftness, FAIA LEEDAP, Paul Mellon Chair in Architecture University Professor, Carnegie Mellon University, USA (online)
• Ms. Jessica Grove-Smith, Senior Researcher, Passive House Institute, Darmstadt, Germany (online)
Conclusions by the Moderator Mr. Davir Orr
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in cooperation with Housing Europe, UN-Habitat, UN Environment (UNEP) and The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).