Kenya, 5 February 2016 - UN-Habitat conducted a two-day media workshop at Machakos County in Kenya with an emphasis on Green building/architecture and journalist reporting across the East African region. The workshop brought together 26 participants drawn from Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Mr. Robert Sangori, a representative from the State Department of Housing and Urban Development in Kenya, said: “According to the Economic Survey of 2015, the building and construction sector is one of the sectors that post high growth rates. This implies that, with the current style of construction and especially in urban areas, the energy consumption by the sector will continue growing in a way that may not be sustainable. This calls for all stakeholders in the housing sector to embrace the concept of greening and energy efficiency in buildings to achieve sustainability”  He also complimented UN-Habitat for working closely with the Ministry towards implementation of the project dubbed Promoting energy efficiency in buildings in East Africa.

Mr. Vincent Kitio, a representative of UN-Habitat, emphasized the need for considering local environment, the local economy and social context when it comes to building for this would reduce energy wastage, high electricity bills, air pollution and greenhouse gas emission. “Our cities consume more 75 per cent of the energy and contribute up to 70 per cent of the greenhouse gas emission that cause climate change,” he said. “The recently endorsed Paris Agreements by 196 countries calls for a transformative approach on the way energy is generated and consumed.” He invited the media fraternity to use the skills acquired during the training to develop articles that will contribute in the debate to develop the New Urban Agenda that will be adopted during the Habitat III summit in Quito in Ecuador.

Mr Musau Kimeu, Chairman and Lecturer of Architecture of the University of Nairobi, emphasized the need for developing environmentally-friendly buildings and engaging with architects. “Glass buildings are very popular today, not just because of the views they boast, or the increased light they let in, but for their striking modern looking appearance. As global warming concerns become more real and widespread, the glass structure must come under scrutiny. Buildings account for more than 50 per cent of all CO2 emission globally, majorly from air-conditioning, and CO2 is the main cause of global warming and climate change.

He went on to say: “The case studies presented show the shift in trend in terms of construction without paying attention to the fundamentals of a green building. It is importance to have all stakeholders advocate for green buildings, collectively we want a better environment for all.” The media workshop is designed to help emerging environmental journalists understand the concept of green building, to strengthen skills for effective coverage of sustainable building principle, to share regional experiences and to create a pool of journalists who are dedicated to effective coverage of sustainable buildings.