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Habitat III: Built environment groups launch advisory group for humanitarian action

Words: Laura Edgar

The RTPI, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), and the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) have joined together to form the UK’s first advisory group on built environment issues within a global humanitarian context.

The group was launched today (19 October) at an event at Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on housing and sustainable urban development in Quito, Ecuador.

The UK Built Environment Advisory Group (UKBEAG) aims to bring together the collective expertise of these three institutes and their members to support a range of humanitarian and development partners, including UK and international government, in preparing to respond to crises such as flooding, droughts, earthquakes and conflicts.

It is hoped that their skills in sustainable development, planning, infrastructure, architecture, structural engineering and project management will provide critical expertise, remotely or in the field.

The UKBEAG will offer support to the UK’s Department for International Development and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, together with associated humanitarian agencies.

Phil Williams, president, RTPI, said:  “As towns and cities around the world experience ever-increasing pressure from growing populations and climate change, it is all the more important that urban planning expertise and training is shared to help communities become more resilient against man-made and natural crises.

“The RTPI represents some of the most experienced planners in the UK and worldwide and is proud to have co-founded the UK Built Environment Advisory Group to enable our members to get involved in humanitarian work to help communities and aid agencies.”

Martin Powell, chief executive, IStructE, added: “Our members are based in over 100 countries around the world and have essential skills and expertise that can have a big impact, helping to save lives or rehabilitate people in response to crises.

“I am sure that the UKBEAG will help address the real requirement for better links between people with expertise and people in need.”  

Jane Duncan, president, RIBA, said: “RIBA is committed to supporting and enabling our members to share their expertise with communities preparing for or reacting to crisis, and are very pleased to have established this new network for involvement in the humanitarian field.”

More information can be found here. www.ukbeag.org

Read a Q&A with the RTPI's Peter Geraghty about the launch of UKBEAG

UN Habitat III - A round-up can be found here.

Image credit | Shutterstock