On October 12, the Trump administration announced that the United States would withdraw from UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for the designation of World Heritage Sites. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has issued a public statement that decries this decision. In the statement, AIA president Thomas Vonier advocated for the World Heritage Sites program, which is important to architects because it "seeks to identify and preserve buildings and places of exceptional importance to humankind." He also noted that UNESCO had recently partnered with the International Union of Architects on a new project to select an annual World Capital of Architecture. This project, he argued, makes UNESCO's mission to support architectural heritage all the more critical. "The AIA urges the Administration to lends its support to this initiative," he concluded. UNESCO–short for the United National Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization–protects over 1,000 sites of architectural, natural, and cultural importance. Once selected, World Heritage Sites are demarcated and protected as landmarks. The United States is home to 23 of these sites, including the Statue of Liberty, the San Antonio Missions, Independence Hall, and Yellowstone National Park. The Trump Administration chose to withdraw from the global initiative citing "the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias" as its reasoning. The bias mentioned is likely in reference to UNESCO's recognition of Hebron as a Palestinian World Heritage Site earlier this summer. With Hebron's addition, Palestine now hosts three World Heritage Sites (all of which are considered endangered by UNESCO), as compared to the nine in Israel (none of which are). The United States has not been able to vote in UNESCO procedures since 2013, when the Obama Administration cut funding for the organization. This cut was in direct reaction to UNESCO's recognition of the first World Heritage Sites in Palestine. The U.S. government hasn't entirely separated themselves from the organization. Instead, they plan to adopt the role of a "non-member observer state" in continued engagement with UNESCO. In this capacity, they will remain involved only to offer American perspectives on the organization's undertakings. The withdrawal takes full effect on December 31, 2018.
Posts tagged with "International Union of Architects":
Today is World Architecture Day with an emphasis linking the built environment and climate—how are you celebrating?
Today is World Architecture Day. According to its organizers, the International Union of Architects (UIA), the theme of this year's World Architecture Day is architecture, building, and climate. Founded in 1948, the NGO is a coalition of national organizations representing approximately 1.3 million architects from 124 countries. The 2015 theme is a response to the United Nations' Climate Change Conference (COP21), held this year in Paris from November 30th to December 11th. On the first day of COP21, UIA will hold a conference to explore how thoughtful architecture and design can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Designers and architects will be asked to consider how design can be the central determining factors in a building's sustainability, and how cities can be transformed to better resist the effects of climate change. Conference panelists include Carin Smuts (CS Studio Architects), Pascal Gontier (Atilier Pascal Gontier), Manfred Hegger (HHS), and Kjetil Traedal Thorsen (Snøetta).
The International Union of Architects (UIA) has made a major commitment to do its part in the fight against climate change. At its recent World Congress in Durban, South Africa, the Union—which represents 1.3 million architects from 124 countries—universally pledged to eliminate carbon emissions from the built environment by 2050. The “2050 Imperative” was created by the non-profit Architecture 2030 and approved by the UIA on August 8th. If this pledge is met, it could have a serious effect on reducing the planet’s overall carbon emissions—70 percent of which come from cities. And since about 60 percent of the world’s building stock is expected to be built or rebuilt within the next 20 years, the UIA said it is presented with an “unprecedented opportunity” to bring carbon emissions to zero. “We recognize our responsibility to seize this unique opportunity to influence ethical, socially responsible development throughout the world: to plan and design sustainable, resilient, carbon-neutral and healthy built environments that protect and enhance natural resources and wildlife habitats, provide clean air and water, generate on-site renewable energy, and advance more livable buildings and communities,” said the declaration. To achieve this ambitious goal, the UIA agreed to the following actions:
- Plan and design cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings, to be carbon neutral, meaning they use no more energy over the course of a year than they produce, or import, from renewable energy sources.
- Renovate and rehabilitate existing cities, towns, urban redevelopments and buildings to be carbon neutral whilst respecting cultural and heritage values.
- In those cases where reaching carbon neutral is not feasible or practical, plan and design cities, towns, urban developments, new buildings, and renovations to be highly efficient with the capability to produce, or import, all their energy from renewable energy sources in the future.
- We commit to the principle of engaging in research and setting targets towards meeting the 2050 goal.
- Advocate and promote socially responsible architecture for the community.
- Develop and deliver equitable access to the information and tools needed to:
- Plan and design sustainable, resilient, inclusive and low-carbon/zero carbon built environments.
- Design no-cost/low-cost, on-site renewable energy and natural resources systems (e.g., passive heating and cooling, water catchment and storage, solar hot water, daylighting, and natural ventilation systems)