Starting from 2020, 4 March will now be the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development as designated by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO). Previously known as ‘Engineer’s Day’, the celebration was formerly observed in several counties on various dates throughout the year.

The announcement was made on November 20th at the 2019 World Engineers Convention by WFEO President, Dr Marlene Kanga.

The WFEO is one of the biggest engineering collectives in the world, bringing together national engineering organizations from over 90 nations and represents around 20 million engineers worldwide. The federation was founded on March 4th 1968, making the new date for World Engineering Day an obvious choice.

The resolution to get the day officially recognized as the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development was adopted at the 206th UNESCO Executive Board session. It was decided on that day in April to set the announcement for the World Engineers Convention of 2019.

The WFEO has also defined the main topics the day will aim to recognize and celebrate. The goals of World Engineering Day have been outlined as:  

  • To demonstrate the role of engineers and engineering
  • To develop solutions to climate change.
  • To raise the profile of engineering and technology, and its role in improving the quality of life worldwide, and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • To encourage dialogue between engineers and decision makers, industry leaders, scientists, non-governmental organizations and the public at large on issues relating to climate change and sustainable development.
  • To enable policies and solutions to address the world’s most pressing problems using engineering and improve dialogue between citizens, engineers and policy-makers.
  • To encourage, more young people, especially girls, to consider engineering as a career.

“Engineers are often not very good at articulating the value of what we do for society. That’s a problem, because engineering is critical to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals” said Dr Kanga, during her opening address at the World Engineers Convention.

“As we all face the impacts of climate change, environmental crises, our growing cities like artificial intelligence, we’re going to need more engineers.” 

It was particularly developing countries that were pushing forward hard for the 4th of March to be recognized worldwide. UNESCO representatives from the Republic of Namibia were instrumental in putting together documentation that was used to introduce the motion to recognize World Engineering Day to the board.

Ambassador Albert Aochamub, Namibia’s permanent delegate to UNESCO’s 296th executive board meeting, introduced the resolution.  The country believes that engineers play a pivotal role in a nation that needs engineering solutions to infrastructural and societal problems. Other countries that considerably supported the motion were China, Nigeria, France and the United Kingdom.

The World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is part of UNESCO and WFEO’s engineering goals for 2030. The focus is to bring more people into engineering education and develop engineering solutions for countries to breed nation building. For the life changing work engineers do in a calendar year, now they can wake on the 4th of March knowing that their work is valued and that they are an integral piece to the puzzle of their societies wherever they are placed.

 

Works Cited

“From next Year, the World Will Finally Have a Day to Celebrate Engineering.” Create, 20 Nov. 2019, www.createdigital.org.au/world-day-celebrate-engineering/.

“World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development.” WFEO, www.wfeo.org/world-engineering-day-for-sustainable-development/.

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