RIBA commits to greater international engagement

RIBA Council has endorsed the findings of the International Task Group and agreed the development of a detailed plan for RIBA’s role in engaging with international communities facing natural disaster, civil conflict and human rights violations.

The International Task Group, chaired by RIBA Vice-President Peter Oborn and endorsed by RIBA’s Council, Board and International Committee, was also tasked with considering the implications of the RIBA Council resolution concerning the Israeli Association of United Architects, and coordinating RIBA’s engagement and dialogue with all sides on this complex issue.

The International Task Group report endorsed today (4 December) included the following key findings:

  • Natural disaster – the RIBA should develop a programme of engagement with the humanitarian sector including acting as a conduit between key organisations and RIBA members, providing a forum and advocacy to support stakeholders in the field, helping to identify opportunities for members and encouraging the development of skills / building capacity in this area
  • Civil conflict – the RIBA should develop ‘rules of engagement’ for the RIBA and its members, including defining the role of the architect in the area of contested space and promoting dialogue amongst stakeholders
  • Human rights and ethical standards – the RIBA should engage by joining the UN Global Compact and the International Ethics Coalition
  • Resolution concerning the Israeli Association of United Architects – the motion calling on the International Union of Architects to suspend the Israeli Association from the UIA was not in furtherance of the charitable objects of the RIBA and should not have been placed before RIBA Council
  • Governance – the RIBA should strengthen governance procedures including the introduction of processes for Council motions to improve scrutiny

RIBA President Stephen Hodder said:

“I am pleased that today, guided by the work of our expert International Task Group, RIBA Council has agreed the development of a constructive plan for the RIBA to support the built environment needs of international communities.  I welcome our newly-agreed clarity on how the Institute should manage its involvement in humanitarian and diplomatic matters in future, and I am personally keen to see architects engaging positively with these issues.

“RIBA Council has an important role to play in engaging with difficult and controversial issues. However it is a widely held view that the resolution passed in March concerning the Israeli Association of United Architects did not make a constructive contribution to the current situation. While there should be no doubt concerning the seriousness of the issues facing communities in Israel and the West Bank, the Task Group has established that the resolution was not in furtherance of the charitable objects of the RIBA and should not have been placed before Council. For the Institute to have engaged in this issue in a confrontational way – by seeking suspension of the Israeli Association of United Architects from the UIA – was wrong. These recommendations supersede the previous Council resolution of 19 March 2014 and as a result that policy is now rescinded.

“We are strengthening  our governance procedures and will put in place measures to ensure that RIBA Council is able to have informed debates with due consideration of the issues involved and within the parameters of our Charter and Charity Commission guidance.

“I would like to congratulate the International Task Group for their rigour, expertise and diligence and look forward to seeing detailed plans in due course.”

The RIBA International Task Group report can be downloaded from:


Notes to editors


For further information contact RIBA Press Office 020 7580 5533


The International Task Group consisted of:

  • Peter Oborn, RIBA Vice President International (Chair)
  • Sir Brendan Gormley MBE, External member, ex CEO DEC
  • Angela Brady, RIBA Council and PPRIBA, (left 09/09/14)
  • Sumita Sinha, RIBA Council
  • Chris Williamson, RIBA Council
  • Richard Brindley, RIBA Executive Director


Posted on Thursday 4th December 2014

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