Engineers: our sustainable development partners

The European Federation of Engineering Associations explains how their members are helping policymakers meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
Photo of Dirk G. Bochar, Secretary General of FEANI | Image taken by: Jean-Yves Limet | Source: FEANI

By Dirk G. Bochar

Dirk G. Bochar is Secretary General of FEANI

31 Jan 2022

The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and their 169 sub-goals are at the heart of the UN’s Agenda 2030. These focus on three dimensions (the environment, our economy and our society) and on five driving principles (people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership). All of these aim to ensure the future wellbeing of our planet and of 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 the SDGs. For this purpose, it has developed a Position Paper to amplify the role that engineering and technology will play in achieving a more sustainable global economy and way of life. The main goal of the 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.

“Engineers and politicians alike have a vital role to play in ensuring that future generations can thrive in a society which is sustainable”

In its Position Paper, FEANI also identifies and focuses on what engineering associations can do in this endeavour, particularly in 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 a number of 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 supporting diversity and inclusivity 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 keep up to date with latest requirements, through offering them continuous professional development, enabling and ensuring competence to act for the public benefit.

In so doing, the European engineering community demonstrates that it takes its responsibility seriously 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.

Click here to download the FEANI Position Paper

This article reflects the views of the author and not the views of The Parliament Magazine or of the Dods Group

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