The UIA SDGC: empowering architects to practice sustainability

The UIA SDGC: empowering architects to practice sustainability

In this era of population shifts, climate change and unprecedented levels of urbanisation, architects have an important role in responding to the complex challenges of the built environment. Through the effective planning, construction, development, management and improvement of cities, urbanisation can become a model for sustainable development - embracing the intrinsic link between the built environment and job creation, livelihood opportunities, and quality of life.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals provide a framework for this development, setting specific targets for alleviating poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all - a new sustainable development agenda.

With its unique position of global representation, the International Union of Architects (UIA) is well positioned to create a bridge between this UN agenda and the practical activities of architects around the world. As an NGO accredited to the United Nations, the UIA Commission will respond directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), raising awareness, creating knowledge, facilitating communication and disseminating information across its global network of members. In doing so, the Commission aims to ensure that architects are not just responsive to the new agenda for Sustainable Development, but at the forefront of its evolution and implementation.


The inaugural Commission meeting

In April 2018 the Commission’s Steering Committee met for the first time, with representatives from Egypt, China, Brazil, USA, Russia, Hungary, Italy, France, UK, Bangladesh and Denmark. The Committee was inspired by a presentation from Mogens Lykketoft, a Danish politician and past President of the 2015 United Nations General Assembly. United in a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, we discussed the role of the architectural profession in achieving this Agenda. Our initial focus will be on communication - translating and communicating the Goals to our global network of members, with an emphasis on how architects can respond to them in practice and the benefits this offers the profession. A database of case studies and resources will support this, empowering architects to integrate sustainability into their daily practice.

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Article by Benjamin Wells
Photo Credits: Benjamin Wells / Arkitektforeningen