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December 6, 2023

Forest-Positive Building Platform Co-creation Workshop, COP 28

A gathering of global leaders met in Dubai to co-create a systemic collaboration platform

The global built environment is currently responsible for almost 40% of total global emissions, with embodied emissions accounting for almost half of this. A “business as usual” trajectory will escalate this to over 10 Bt CO2e / year by 2050 - due in large part to urban housing and infrastructure demands in the global south*. Timber and other bio-based building technologies offer substantially-lower carbon footprint alternatives, particularly for the primary structure (beams, columns, walls, floor slabs, and cores). Current technologies allow timber and bamboo to satisfy structural requirements for urban buildings from 6 story to 25 story depending on contextual factors. At the same time, forests worldwide are are vastly undervalued, leading to deforestation (land-use conversion) and degradative management practices. It is estimated that halting deforestation and restoring forests in the tropics alone could reduce global GHG emissions by 30%.

Integrating the development demands of new urban buildings with the fate of the world’s forests must be an essential part of any legitimate climate strategy. This integrative approach demand and supply is a global challenge, and it has extraordinarily high stakes for developing countries and tropical forests.

With this shared-mission, thousands of organizations, networks, initiatives, projects, programs, funding mechanisms and technologies currently exist, offering a vast array of diverse solutions and expertise. Collaboration within this universe is common, but not necessarily strategic, well supported, or systemic. This is a massive opportunity gap. Robust support for systemic collaboration offers the potential to multiply the efforts of these diverse actors and dramatically accelerate the outcomes and systems-change needed.

Leading organizations, businesses, and government entities, have expressed that support for collaboration could garner exponentially improved impact at a participant level, and as a whole. To this end, a group of leading stakeholders proposes to seed an inclusive support infrastructure platform based on three interdependent products:

  1. A dynamic, interactive and accessible shared-resource library and map that coalesces and contextualizes the organizations, networks, coalitions, case studies, reports, projects, funding, communications, gov. programs, innovative policies, businesses, products, forestry initiatives, nodes, hubs, etc. -- organized by: geographic location, participants, sector, etc. (Wikipedia meets Google Maps for the global forest-positive building sector).

  2. A dynamic, interactive and accessible global map of supply and demand that can show at any time - current and future scenarios - the jurisdictional demand for timber products, and the potential supply available in other (or the same) jurisdictions.

  3. Substantial financial support infrastructure for systemic collaboration and innovation between diverse stakeholders across the whole value system and the tools and maintenance to support this collaboration. Funds would be directed towards applicants, projects and programs represented by multi-sectoral partnerships. A fund management committee of representative multi-sectoral members will review, advise, and award based on the multi-dimensional impact potential of proposals.

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