Plans on track for an annual World Engineering Day: The UNESCO Executive Board has backed proposals to create an annual World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development
Chris Richards, ICE Head of Policy and Public Affairs
Plans for a day to globally celebrate and raise awareness of the important work of engineers in achieving sustainable development are a step closer, after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Executive Board endorsed a recommendation.
Earlier this month, the UNESCO Executive Board agreed to welcome a proposal to proclaim a World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development to be celebrated on 4 March every year.
In coordination with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), ICE has been working behind-the-scenes with stakeholders and the Department for International Development to ensure the UK supported the proposal at the meeting.
Recognising the opportunity to globally celebrate the profession, ICE believes a World Engineering Day will help highlight the role of the profession in addressing the growing, and pressing, need for clean water and sanitation, natural disaster resilience, and ability to protect oceans and earth’s resources.
A ‘positive and encouraging’ decision
Closer to home, the establishment of a World Engineering Day could leverage the many successes of the UK government’s 2018 Year of Engineering and continue to raise awareness of the contribution of engineers and engineering to our society.
ICE, WFEO and some 80 institutions worldwide provided letters of support to their respective governments, urging them to support this vote. It was positive and encouraging to see the recommendation unanimously agreed upon last week.
As part of its decision, the UNESCO Executive Board also recognised that “engineering has been changing the world for millennia and that the new rapidly emerging technologies are an opportunity for positive transformation and peace that leaves no one behind”.
Building on GEC
These themes build on the ambition of the Global Engineering Congress (GEC), hosted by the Institution at One Great George Street in October last year, which galvanised the global engineering community into addressing the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs).
The decision now moves to the 40th UNESCO General Conference in November. The UNESCO Executive Board has recommended that the conference should endorse its decision.
ICE will continue to work behind-the-scenes with the wider engineering community to ensure this becomes a reality.