Earth from space

UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion will "give the sector a voice" at COP26 climate conference

Over 100 organisations have come together to create a virtual pavilion to draw attention to the built environment's contribution to carbon emissions at the COP26 climate conference in November.

The UK Built Environment Virtual Pavilion will contain an exhibition of exemplary low-carbon projects "within a bespoke virtual reality space" and host speeches and panel discussions.

Coordinated by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), the pavilion aims "to give the sector a voice at COP26 and generate a reach and legacy that can stretch beyond COP itself".

"Eyes of the world will be on COP26"

COP26, the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference, takes place in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November 2021.

"The eyes of the world will be on COP26, for what must be a key milestone moment and a historic turning point in our battle against climate change," said Julie Hirigoyen, chief executive at UKGBC.

"It is an opportunity for nations, cities, businesses and civil society to demonstrate that the Paris Agreement is effective, momentum is unstoppable and – perhaps above all else – we are moving from targets to action."

Pavilion to highlight built environment's role in causing climate change

Partners include New London Architecture, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the World Green Building Council, the British Property Federation and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation.

COP, or Conference of the Parties, is an annual conference that brings together signatories of the 1994 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Hosted by the UK, COP26 was due to take place last year but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pavilion is one of many activities being planned to highlight the built environment's role in causing climate change. The sector causes around 40 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

COP26 to have dedicated built environment day

Earlier this year, a coalition of international organisations including the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) wrote to COP26 president Alok Sharma requesting an official day dedicated to the built environment at the conference.

Sharma agreed and asked the coalition to organise a dedicated "Built Environment and Cities Day" but no further details have emerged.

"The built environment is fundamental to many of the themes of COP26," said Hirigoyen.

"It has a critical role to play in mitigating climate change, responsible for 39 per cent of energy-related CO2 emissions and is central to building resilience against climatic extremes too late to avoid, through nature-based solutions."

"It is key, also, to the aspiration of building back better after COVID."

COP26 will take place at SEC Centre in Glasgow from 1 to 12 November 2021. See Dezeen Events Guide for all the latest information you need to know to attend the event, as well as a list of other architecture and design events taking place around the world.