Sarah El Battouty Highlights Engineering & Construction Role in Sustainability at Big 5 Construct Egypt

by Nada Khaled

By Nada El-Margoushy

During the activities of the second day of the Big 5 Construct Egypt, held at Egypt International Exhibition Center from June 19-21, the Global Ambassador of UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champions and Founder of Econsult, renowned architecture Sarah El Battouty, participated in a session, titled “How is the construction sector contributing to sustainable development?”

Besides Sarah El Battouty, the panel, moderated by Regional Managing Director of the Project Management Institute (PMI), Engineer Grace Najjar, also included the Head of MENA Programmes at World Green Building Council, Amira Ayoub; VP of Egypt projects at Hill International, Perihan Elwy; and Chairman and CEO of Dcarbon Egypt, Ehab Shalaby.

The impressive group engaged in a fruitful discussion, highlighting the role of the construction and engineering sector in achieving sustainability and how to further expand their role to meet Egypt’s 2030 vision.

For her part, Sarah pointed out that when we look at climate action throughout the years, we’ll find that for the longest time, the UN high-level champions and global ambassadors have only allowed governments, banks, and huge entities into the global climate change dialogue, where they meet, talk, and make decisions for the entire world.

That, she mentioned, was not working for years, which is why she believes the UN has engaged with more practitioners and people who know what they’re doing on the ground and decided to include practitioners and influential people from the private sector and NGOs to join the conversation and take part in the decision-making process as the climate change problem doesn’t only affect a specific group of people, but rather everyone on the planet.

Moreover, El Battouty talked in depth about the role of the private sector in general and architects and construction specialists in particular within the global dialogue dedicated to climate change.

She said: 40% of the global emissions that come out are released within the sector today, and we have a huge responsibility to respond to this.

Adding: For the longest time, we have been making decisions for the agriculture and oil and gas sectors to take part, however, it’s time for the building sector to also step up and do its part.

Furthermore, she talked about her company “ECOnsult”, founded nearly 18 years ago, which included a distinguished group of architects and ecological researchers who had a mission to address the lack of climate-resilient and green buildings in this part of the world, Mena, and monitor who in the global arena is designing and creating this innovation to benefit from the successful example.

The celebrated architect pointed out that cost efficiency is not available to build thousands of green buildings. The company works with “Hayah Karima” to certify villages. Last year, ECOnsult successfully certified a village in Aswan, and this year, the team is working on another.

Sarah included: When we start working in a village, we look at its water, shading, buildings, and everything that can be improved. We need to be more innovative, and we need more funding. There’s no reason to call something smart and green if no one can use it.

Notably, ECOnsult has the largest portfolio of green buildings locally and the first carbon mutual project in the Mena region, which started 7 years ago. One of the main projects they are working on to achieve SDGs today is accessible and affordable green buildings, taking into consideration the economic demographic of countries like Egypt and other parts of the region.

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Top 50 Women Forum is the first platform in Egypt to work exclusively on empowering women professionals, with the purpose of strengthening their contribution development & decision-making processes.