UNESCO has published two landmark reports on Engineering, a decade apart. The first was widely recognized as one of the most important documents available on engineering, and raised considerable public interest. While some fundamental features of the engineers’ mission and responsibility remain, times have changed markedly in the ten years since its publication. The second UNESCO Engineering Report, Engineering for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, published on 4 March 2021, is launched in the context of accelerating actions to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.
The report highlights the crucial role of engineering in achieving each of the 17 SDGs. It shows how equal opportunities for all is key to ensuring an inclusive and gender balanced profession that can better respond to the shortage of engineers for implementing the SDGs.
It provides a snapshot of the engineering innovations that are shaping our world, especially emerging technologies such as big data and AI, which are crucial for addressing the pressing challenges facing humankind and the planet. It analyses the transformation of engineering education and capacity-building at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution that will enable engineers to tackle the challenges ahead. It highlights the global effort needed to address the specific regional disparities, while summarizing the trends of engineering across the different regions of the world.
By presenting case studies and approaches, as well as possible solutions, the report reveals why engineering is crucial for sustainable development and why the role of engineers is vital in addressing basic human needs such as alleviating poverty, supplying clean water and energy, responding to natural hazards, constructing resilient infrastructure, and bridging the development divide, among many other actions, leaving no one behind. It is hoped that the report will serve as a reference for governments, engineering organizations, academia and educational institutions, and industry to forge global partnerships and catalyse collaboration in engineering so as to deliver on the SDGs.