Press Releases

Colombia Promotes Sustainable Construction with IFC and Swiss Support

Darcy Antonin Crowe
Telephone: +57 1 313 6449


Medellín, Colombia, June 10, 2015—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) praised the approval of the new sustainable construction decree in Colombia, an initiative led by the Ministry of Housing, Cities, and Territory that will promote efficiency in water and energy use in new buildings which has been supported by IFC, Swiss Embassy in Colombia-SECO, and the Colombian Association of Construction Firms (CAMACOL).

The new decree, announced on Friday by Housing Minister Luis Felipe Henao Cardona, will promote efficiency through the balanced use of resources in new constructions, leading to a 15 percent savings in water and energy use in the case of commercial buildings, and a 10 percent savings in the case of residential buildings during its first phase of implementation which will start on June 2016.  The decree represents an important step in the sustainable development of cities in Colombia and in the dynamism of the construction sector.

The measure, which in addition has received private sector support through CAMACOL, is also one of the first sustainable construction decrees in the region to ensure that the new regulations are practical to apply by the construction sector. IFC’s assistance with the design of the new regulatory framework is part of a national program for green construction supported by SECO under Switzerland’s economic cooperation program for Colombia.

“By making a commitment to transition toward sustainable or low-carbon development, Colombia is one of the pioneers of the region,” noted Housing Minister Luis Felipe Henao Cardona, who added that “in fact, the country is a member of AILAC, a group of developing nations that seeks to lower carbon emissions in their respective countries, given their view that climate change mitigation and sustainable development offer an opportunity for growth and the prevention of natural events, which all countries will have to address in the future.”

The Swiss Ambassador to Colombia, Kurt Kunz, expressed his satisfaction over the issuance of the decree, as “it represents a concrete step toward the sustainable development of cities. Through its economic cooperation program, Switzerland has supported and will continue to support the efforts of the Colombian Government to implement its green growth strategy.”

Kristtian Rada, the head of the IFC Latin American cities program, pointed out that “the importance of this decree lies in the fact that the measures adopted will have an impact on the environment and the quality of life of citizens. The inclusion of different energy and water savings measures, as a country strategy, paves the way for mitigating the impact of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the construction sector. This will help promote sustainable cities in Colombia.”

This initiative is part of the World Bank Group’s overall program to help with the development of sustainable construction codes in Colombia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Vietnam, among others.

Latin America is the most urbanized region in the world, with 80 percent of its population living in cities. Global studies have shown that the construction sector accounts for the use of 45 percent of energy, 17 percent of potable water, linked to water use in buildings, and 25 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.  Against this backdrop, regulations to improve efficiencies in the construction sector will make a significant contribution to the development of the region’s cities.

About SECO

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) handles all key issues related to Swiss economic policy.  Through its Economic Cooperation and Development Division, it seeks to integrate partner countries into the global economy and to promote socially responsible and environmentally friendly economic growth.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit

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