Sustainable development calls for social, environmental and economic solutions during the construction, operation, maintenance and deconstruction of the built environment.  The appropriate solution depends primarily on the nature of the development project, the given project phase, its jurisdiction and the project's stakeholders.

Buildings, including construction, operations, maintenance and deconstruction use a significant amount of all resources of production.  Construction consumes around 15% of the world’s freshwater resources, 35% of the world's energy, produces approximately 38% of the world's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and employs around 7% of the world’s working population.

Countries must take prompt leadership action and translate their nationally determined contribution (NDC) and longer-term climate strategies into policies, investments plans, and projects.  They must establish legal frameworks that improve the sustainability of buildings, enact building regulations to include sustainability-related criteria, and provide incentives to encourage the sustainable development of buildings and infrastructure.

Local governments award most of the building permits and play a key role in the implementation of national policies, programs and laws.  They can adopt policy to encourage building sustainability on many levels and to regulate and control the development and use of the built environment in the interest of the citizens of their communities.

Public and private sector developers must protect the interest of project participants and all other stakeholders in the development and use of buildings and infrastructure.  The developers initiate new development projects, organize the required social, environmental and capital resources, and are responsible for project structuring and management.

Public and private sector development projects engage architects and civil engineers, consultants and advisors, lenders, investors and project operators.  Each project participant can contribute to the sustainability of the development and operation of the built environment.

Civil society and civil society organizations (CSOs) are critically important to development cooperation.  Agenda 2030 calls on CSOs to implement and uphold accountability for the sustainable development goals.