The UN-Habitat Conference on Promoting Green Building Rating Systems in Africa opened this morning at the UN Compound in Grigiri, Kenya. Representatives from twenty African nations, seven countries from Europe, Asia, and North America, and delegates from the United Nations were in attendance as Inga Bjork-Klevby, Deputy Executive General of UN-Habitat welcomed the assembly and introduced the goals of conference:
"In the United States, the building industry is responsible for approximately 40% of the green-house gas emissions for the country. At present, there are no figures for African cities. How do you measure the effectiveness of green building strategies where little or no record is kept? The purpose of this conference is for participants to understand the available options in terms of sustainability so they can make informed decisions. It is not the responsibility of the people, but of you, the building industry - architects, engineers, builders, developers, and legislators - to generate and organize ideas to meet the challenges of the future of urbanization."Tirop Kosgey, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Housing in Kenya echoed the sentiments of Bjork-Klevby:
"We need to harness the full potential of technology to address the effects of climate change and to build sustainably, to build smart infrastructure, and create robust building codes. We need to move beyond advocacy, and put into place, legal and legislative standards."The opening remarks by both Bjork-Kevby and Kosgey were clear: accountability would be placed squarely on the shoulders of the building industry, and the only way to truly promote sustainable design in Africa is through collaboration, education, and the incorporation and enforcement of legislative guidelines.
The United Nations Building in Grigiri, Kenya.