Habitat for Humanity pledges access to resilient housing solutions ahead of the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in Paris


PARIS (March 6, 2024) — Today, in recognition of housing’s critical role in climate mitigation and adaptation, Habitat for Humanity has made specific programmatic commitments toward accelerating low-income families’ access to low-carbon, resilient housing solutions. Furthermore, through its Home Equals campaign, Habitat for Humanity is calling on governments at all levels to prioritize locally led adaptation actions that directly address the needs of the most vulnerable communities, in particular people living in informal settlements, while also pursing mitigation efforts that are affordable and accessible to all.

The buildings and construction sector is currently responsible for 37% of global CO2 emissions. Not only are low-income families and residents of informal settlements uniquely vulnerable to the ongoing and increasingly severe impacts of climate change, but also the ability to meet global climate targets depends on successful decarbonization of this sector.

“Global leaders are leaving the most vulnerable communities behind by underinvesting in climate adaptation solutions and failing to mobilize mitigation investment from the private sector,” said Roland Pearson, vice president and executive director of Habitat for Humanity International’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter. “To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, low-carbon investments in emerging markets must reach US$2 trillion annually by 2030 – a five-fold increase from 2020 – with 80% of these investments coming from the private sector. We must prioritize equitable housing solutions in these investments.”

From March 7-8, the Buildings and Climate Global Forum in Paris will, for the first time, gather ministers and high-level representatives of key organizations to focus on decarbonizing the built environment, following the Conference of the Parties 28, or COP28. In the joint declaration developed at the Forum, Habitat for Humanity urges member states to promote:

    • Adaptation measures through housing for the most vulnerable, prioritizing locally led adaptation actions that directly address the needs of the most vulnerable communities.
    • Mitigation solutions in the housing sector that are affordable and accessible for families, particularly in rapidly urbanizing cities around the world.
    • Housing and urban settlement transformation as a means of achieving inclusive climate action and resilience for, by and with vulnerable communities.

Habitat for Humanity joins fellow built environment sector stakeholders in making specific commitments to support the Forum’s ambition of a decarbonized construction future, including:

  • Enabling 300,000 households to secure financing to make climate-resilient and energy-efficient home improvements by 2035. Habitat for Humanity has over 15 years of experience working with financial service providers, or FSPs, to develop and deliver affordable housing finance products for families, and specifically for women, who often do not qualify for traditional loans and mortgages. Building on the success of its MicroBuild Fund, and working through FSPs, Habitat will dedicate at least 50% of new investment capital to climate-focused financial products and servicesspecifically loans for families to improve the resilience and energy efficiency of their homes, as well as to loans for small and growing businesses advancing resilience and decarbonization in the housing sector.
  • Tripling the number of housing-focused climate tech enterprises in our portfolio. Habitat for Humanity will invest capital and technical assistance in at least 100 startups and small- and medium-sized enterprises focused on climate action in the housing sector. Habitat for Humanity will make climate a core pillar of its investment strategy as the organization looks to significantly expand its Shelter Venture Fund, and will prioritize investments in products and services that take an integrated approach to addressing both the climate and housing crises.
  • Advancing policy changes to ensure 15 million people living in slums and other informal settlements have more equitable access to adequate housing. The overcrowding, housing quality and tenure insecurity that characterize informal settlements inherently make residents of informal settlements more vulnerable to disasters brought on by climate change, particularly floods, landslides and excessive heat. Adequate housing is resilient housing. Through its global advocacy campaign, Home Equals, Habitat will work across more than 40 countries to drive policy changes at local, national and global levels towards realizing the right to adequate housing for all.

These commitments build on Habitat’s longstanding efforts to promote safe, affordable and future-proof housing around the world – including the Residential Energy Efficiency for Low-Income Households project – as well as new research from Habitat for Humanity’s Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter (PDF) analyzing how impact investors can leverage the dependencies between climate and housing targets to maximize impact.

Projections indicate that the world’s building stock will double by 2060, with almost 70% of the world’s population likely living in urban areas. Already, 2.8 billion people lack adequate shelter. Acting on every chance to create green, sustainable and circular economies in the built environment will be the only successful way to achieve global climate targets as we build for our collective future.

Resource: https://www.habitat.org/newsroom/2024/habitat-humanity-pledges-access-resilient-housing-solutions-ahead-buildings-and