Global celebration for Engineering Day for Sustainable Development
March 4, 2020, marks the first World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. The aim of this event, which forms part of the UN 2030 Agenda, is to present projects that contribute to achieving the goals of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Plan.
“There is no planet B”, “one Earth, one chance”, “not one degree more, nor one species less” are among the slogans seen on the placards at anti-climate change demonstrations. And likewise, the UN has declared this decade to be the Decade for Action, and is urging governments to drive forward their sustainable actions to respond to the challenges facing the world: from poverty and gender equality to climate change and inequality.
Engineers play a vital role in this response.
In its 40th General Conference in November 2019, the UNESCO designated March 4 as the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development. The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) proposed this date, as it coincides with the date when it was founded 50 years ago.
The engineering community has strongly welcomed the celebration of this day. “It’s about recognizing the enormous impact engineering can have on enabling or hindering the sustainable development of the human race on our small and limited planet,” says Enrique Gómez, an engineer at Siemens Gamesa.
According to the official UNESCO document regarding this day, engineers are needed more than ever because they can tackle the problems facing the planet to achieve a better world, in areas such as clean water and sanitation, natural disaster defenses, and the protection of the oceans and the earth’s resources.
A new generation of engineers have embraced this without hesitation. “I think it's fantastic that we can all contribute our little grain of sand and create new technologies and devices to help make the change toward a better planet faster and more effectively,” says María del Carmen Plaza, a recent naval engineering graduate.
The World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is a reminder that engineers today must be creative and cross-skilled thinkers who take personal responsibility for sustainable development,” says Kristen Skelton. This idea is also shared by Enrique Gómez: “This day reminds engineers of our responsibility to design and manufacture products and create technical solutions that respect the environment and people.”
The celebration of the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is only one small step on a long journey. “There's a lot to do, especially if we want to accomplish the United Nations sustainable development goals for 2030,” concludes Skelton.