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Paris Declaration Sparks Global Shift Towards Sustainable Buildings

In a groundbreaking moment for the decarbonization movement, 70 countries gathered in Paris on March 8 to sign the Declaration de Chaillot, signaling a paradigm shift in national climate policies with buildings at the forefront. This historic agreement pledges a commitment to systemic, sufficiency-first strategies and advocates for a range of regulatory, financial, and private-sector tools to achieve sustainable building practices.

For Architecture 2030, the Paris Forum marked a significant milestone, tracing back to Ed Mazria's pivotal efforts during the COP21 Paris Agreement to prioritize buildings in UN climate discussions. What began as modest endeavors in 2015 blossomed into the formation of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction and the recent launch of the Buildings Breakthrough, aimed at fostering international collaboration to accelerate climate action.

The road to success was not without its challenges. Organizing an ambitious agenda covering 20 topic areas within a tight timeframe required unprecedented collaboration among global organizations. However, the Forum surpassed expectations, bringing together a diverse array of public and private sector leaders to address the complex systems shaping the design and delivery of buildings and cities worldwide.

A notable achievement of the Forum was its ability to engage a broad spectrum of stakeholders beyond the traditional echo chamber of advocates. Elected officials, ministers, investors, and business leaders were among those invited, emphasizing the importance of radical collaboration in driving meaningful change.

Moreover, the Forum placed significant emphasis on vernacular and informal development, recognizing the vital role these sectors play in shaping the future of sustainable building practices. Addressing global disparities, particularly in emerging markets, became a focal point, underscoring the need for inclusive and equitable climate action.

While the Declaration de Chaillot represents a beacon of hope for developing states, there remains work to be done in addressing climate justice and integrating cultural dimensions into climate change discourse. Moving forward, future iterations must prioritize equity-driven decision-making to ensure a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Looking ahead, the Forum's impact on the COP process is poised to be profound. As countries gear up to deliver their next round of Nationally Determined Contributions, initiatives such as the Sufficiency First Coalition and global working groups will carry forward the momentum generated by the Paris Forum, translating commitments into tangible action on the ground.

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