UNESCO hosts first international emergency architecture conferenceParis – The French nongovernmental organization Emergency Architects will hold its first international conference, aimed at giving its activities a national and international framework, at UNESCO on June 13.
Emergency Architects intervene in cases of natural and technological disasters or conflicts. The French association, founded two years ago, has been active on various crisis fronts, including the explosion at the AZF factory in Toulouse, France (September 2001), the earthquake in Nahrin, Afghanistan (April 2002), and the floods in Central Europe – Germany, Romania, and the Czech Republic – (August 2002). It is working towards establishing specific training programmes for architects as well as engineers and psychologists involved in emergency relief work.
Patrick Coulombel, President of the association, explains, “Arriving two days after a disaster is already an achievement. But it is even better to have a structure that is established on the spot in advance. And besides, there are all the things no one talks about, like shantytowns and refugee camps, which are officially temporary but which become permanent.”
A growing number of architectural councils in various countries are setting up professional associations of emergency architects. One was established in Algeria at the end of May, following the earthquake that devastated the north of the country. The Secretary General of the National Council of the Order of Algerian Architects, Kachour Mustapha Lofti, will be one of the participants at the June 13 conference, as will be the German Emergency Architects.
Also present will be the Secretary General of the International Union of Architects, Jean-Claude Riguet, and architects from different countries including Afghanistan, Algeria, Argentina, the Czech Republic, Japan, Portugal and Romania.
From France, Jean-Francois Susini, President of the National Council of the Order of Architects, will attend, as well as representatives of the public authorities and victims’ organizations.
Pierre Sané, Assistant Director General of UNESCO for Social and Human Sciences, will open the debate (Room XI), which will focus on the creation of networks in France, (10.15-11.45 a.m.), throughout Europe (2.00-3.30 p.m.) and internationally (4.00-5.30 p.m.). Debates will also focus on the education and training of architects. The conference’s conclusions will be presented from 5.45 to 6.30 p.m.
Journalists wishing to attend the conference should register with the UNESCO Press Service. Tel: +33 (0)1 45 68 17 48