New Asia Pacific Network encourages green building to take off

07 October, 2009

Bob McMullan MP, Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, launched the new Asia Pacific Green Building Network in Melbourne recently as part of World Green Building Day activities.

Melbourne played host to the inaugural World Green Building Day in Australia, which coincided with a series of synchronised events around the globe. These have been organised by the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) to draw attention to the role green buildings can play in mitigating climate change.

"More than half of the world's urban population will live in the Asia Pacific by 2030. Australia wants to work with our neighbours to ensure that our region's cities of the future are sustainable," said McMullan.

"Hyper-urbanisation across the Asian region is one of the biggest economic, environmental and social challenges facing the planet. It is not enough for us to build better buildings in Australia. We must broaden our focus to ensure we support our entire region.

"The WorldGBC's Asia Pacific Network has been established to provide support for countries as they establish their own green building councils, develop rating tools for green buildings and roll out education programs," said McMullan.

Nearly 1 million people move from rural to urban environments each week - the equivalent to building a medium-sized city every seven days.

On current trends, the eight Asian cities of Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai in China, Mumbai and Kolkata in India, and Bangkok, Jakarta and Manila in South East Asia will have a combined population equivalent to that of the United States by 2020.

According to the Chair of both the WorldGBC and Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), Tony Arnel, greening the Asia Pacific's property industry is of global importance because of the scale and speed of construction in the region.

"We know that the people of the developed world have the largest and most ominous ecological footprints. But as we reform our own behaviour, equally, we must support the developing world to avoid the mistakes of our past," said Arnel.

"The new Asia Pacific Network will enable established green building councils in the region, such as the GBCA, to help emerging councils to take action on global warming, improve urban environments and alleviate urban poverty."

The Green Building Council of Australia is currently hosting green building leaders from China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Singapore and New Zealand for a two-week Asia Pacific Green Building Leadership Forum. The Forum will help to accelerate the uptake of green buildings in the Asia Pacific region.

"The coordinated activities on World Green Building Day are evidence of the groundswell of green building action around the region," concluded Arnel.