The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has dropped their controversial proposal to ban the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the umbrella organization the International Union of Architects (UIA). Intended as a sanction against the IAUA for failing to "resist projects on illegally-occupied land," supporters of the proposal had hoped it would be discussed at the UIA World Congress in Durban in August, however the UIA has confirmed that it will not include the motion as it is beyond their 'political scope'.
In response to the highly controversial episode - which garnered criticism both in the UK and as far afield as the United States - the RIBA has announced a new working group that will "consider the institute’s role in engaging with communities facing civil conflict and natural disaster."
The new group will be headed by RIBA's vice president of international relations, Peter Oborn. Stephen Hodder, President of RIBA, highlighted that the group will focus on providing a "positive and constructive response to working with international communities."
Meanwhile, Hodder was keen to draw a line under the Israel proposal, saying that the motion tabled by past president Angela Brady to raise the issue with the UIA had been 'fulfilled'. "The UIA response that the call is outside their ‘political scope’ brings the matter to a close. The RIBA will not be commenting further on the matter, therefore any members who share their personal views will not be doing so on behalf of the Institute," he added.
Meanwhile Brady was supportive of the creation of the new Ethics Group. "We should stand up for these ethical issues. Architects should take responsibility," she said, adding that she would like to see "more positive action and engagement" from architects on such issues.
Story via the Architects' Journal