World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development
Engineering has always had an essential role in development and human welfare. Ensuring that future generations of engineers and scientists will be able to design solutions for local and global challenges is critical.
UNESCO's General Conference proclaimed the 4 March World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development during its 40th session in November 2019 (40 C/64), to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life, which is essential to mitigate the impact of climate change and advance sustainable development, especially in Africa and the small island developing states (SIDS).
In spite of the importance of engineering for our life and future, women have been historically underrepresented in engineering fields, typically making up only 10 – 20% of the engineering work force. Even in countries where the numbers of women studying STI have increased, this trend has not translated into more women entering the workplace. Too many female students who graduate do not go into the engineering profession. The barriers are often connected to persistent gender stereotypes in this field, inadequate policies or educational environments that do not meet their needs and aspirations.
UNESCO is placing a high priority on activities that promote awareness of engineering as a career, as well as on those that demonstrate the importance of youth studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
UNESCO Engineering Reports
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.
In 2010, UNESCO in partnership with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS) and the International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC), produced the world’s first comprehensive study on engineering. The UNESCO report, Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development, highlights the importance of engineers to the socio-economic development of humankind. As stated in the publication, "Engineering drives social, economic and human development and underpins our knowledge societies and infrastructures. It is a major factor in innovation and indeed the rise and fall of civilizations".
Despite the importance of engineers to the improvement of global societies, there are a number of issues, most pertinent is the shortage of engineers, that need to be brought to the public’s attention and that need to be addressed by international organizations, civil societies, industries, academic institutions and national governments.
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About the logo
The 17 colours of the UN Sustainable Development Goals are included in the World Engineering Day logo and represent the commitment to the UN 2030 Agenda. The colours at the centre of the image are for the Sustainable Development Goals for Water, Energy, Sustainable Infrastructure and Innovation. These are the areas where engineers are needed most. The goal for Engineering Education is also central as the world needs more engineers with the right engineering skills for sustainable development. The image of the world is incorporated in the logo to show that this is a global day for everyone. The gears of the logo show that engineers are driving the world forward and that engineering is essential for sustainable development.