UNESCO report shows reinforcement of engineering capacities is crucial to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

Despite high demand for engineering, a global effort is needed to address specific regional disparities, especially in Africa, according to the second UNESCO Engineering Report, Engineering for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, released today to mark the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development (to be observed tomorrow, 4 March).

The Report points to currently insufficient engineering capacities to achieve the internationally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and highlights the lack of diversity in the field. It demonstrates how equal opportunity for all is key to ensuring an inclusive and gender balanced profession able to realize its full potential.

Engineering is one of the keys to the sustainable development of our societies, and to activate its full potential, the world needs more engineers and more equality

Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General

The Report further notes that “the unprecedented situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the interconnected nature of societies and how scientific innovations, through the effective implementation of engineering, can increase resilience.”

The report presents a snapshot of engineering innovations and actions that are contributing to meeting the SDGs, with contributions from authors from every region of the world. It highlights the crucial role of engineering in achieving each of the 17 SDGs, and explains why it is crucial to engage the engineering profession.

The report also demonstrates how engineering innovations and new technologies, especially those using information and communication technologies and data, are transforming our world for the better. Most importantly, it demonstrates how engineering is vital to solving the critical issues of today, including climate change, urbanization and preserving the health of our oceans and forests, for example.

“Engineering itself needs to transform to become more innovative, inclusive, cooperative and responsible,” according to the Report. A new paradigm for engineering is thus urgently needed, one that bridges traditional divisions between disciplines and that is inter- and multidisciplinary in its approach, enabling engineering to address complex issues such as climate change. Furthermore, engineers need to understand and shoulder their social responsibility by contributing to a more sustainable, resilient and equitable world for all people.

The report was prepared in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the International Centre for Engineering Education (ICEE), based at Tsinghua University, the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) and other international engineering organizations.

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