The 17 goals for sustainable development and their 169 sub-goals are at the heart of the UN Agenda 2030
They focus on three dimensions (the environment, our economy and our society) and on five driving principles (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership). All of those aim to ensure the future wellbeing of our planet and of our mankind, by making their developments sustainable.
The European Federation of Engineering Associations (FEANI), as the voice of more than six million engineers in Europe, has identified a major task in contributing to the successful implementation of these SDGs. For this purpose it has developed a Position Paper to amplify the role engineering and technology will play in achieving a more sustainable global economy and future way of life. The main goal of the Position Paper is to instigate a change of mind and a call to action. Technology in general and engineering in particular, will play a crucial part in the successful achievement of many of the 17 SDGs, but FEANI wishes to highlight those where engineers are likely to have most impact. Those relate to SDG 6 - Clean water and sanitation; SDG 7 - Affordable and clean energy; SDG 9 - Industry, innovation, and infrastructure and SDG 11- Sustainable cities and communities.
The Position Paper also identifies and focuses on what engineering associations can do in this endeavour, especially in the light of the lack of awareness and understanding by society of the role of professional engineers and the underrepresentation of engineers in political decision-making bodies. Engineering associations perform several activities in order to assist in the achievement of the sustainability goals : they act as communicators by increasing the general awareness in society of engineering accomplishments, they develop partnerships with universities and industry, sharing best-practices and are drivers in supporting diversity and inclusion in engineering education and the profession more widely. At the same time, engineering associations facilitate the public debate on sustainability by offering seminars and training courses that focus on new technologies and innovation. They help engineers in keeping up to date with new requirements in offering continuous professional development for them, enabling and ensuring competence to act for the public benefit.
By doing so, the European engineering community demonstrates that it takes its responsibility and stands ready to provide expert knowledge to politicians who are concerned with the timely and successful implementation of the SDGs. Engineers – and politicians alike - have a vital role to play in ensuring that future generations can thrive in a society which is sustainable and has learned to live within the boundaries established by ecological limits. Engineers humbly accept this challenge with dedication and commitment.
Link to the position paper, can be found here.