Rio de Janeiro, 2020 World Capital of Architecture

Statement of the President, UIA (International Union of Architects).

Rio City Hall, the Brazilian Institute of Architects, UNESCO and the UIA gathered at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris today to present this year’s UNESCO-UIA World Capital of Architecture programme in Rio de Janeiro.

In honour of this title, Rio is holding a series of architecture-themed events throughout the entire year, with a particular focus on promoting the 11th goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that is, “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Addressing the audience, UIA president Thomas Vonier described Rio as a «youthful and dynamic city, with great geographic beauty and a rich culture of language, architecture, music, dance, literature and cuisine.»

He went on to emphasise that Rio also faces numerous challenges as a city, stressing that various urban issues would be addressed during the World Capital of Architecture and the UIA World Congress of Architects (19-23 July 2020).

«Architects will see what is being done—and what needs to be done,» he said. «They will experience Rio’s colorful history, its vibrant present, and its promising future. They will see this great world city both as it is, and as it could be. That is the purpose of the World Capital of Architecture—to show how architecture can improve the human condition, and our planet. We are in a time of need, and this is a chance for ordinary people and world leaders to see the value of design in everyday lives.»

The World Capital of Architecture is a new joint UNESCO-UIA initiative, building on a partnership between the two organisations that dates back to 1956. Thomas Vonier stated that «[The UIA] partnership with UNESCO reinforces the place of architecture and urban design in advancing cultural values and influences in society, so sorely needed in today’s world.»

The International Union of Architects (UIA) is an international non-governmental organisation based in Paris. Established in 1948, it is the only organisation representing architects across the globe working to unify architects, influence public policies on construction and development, and advance architecture in service to the needs of society.

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