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Engineers' impact on poverty neglected - ICE

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THE ICE last week slammed the government for overlooking the importance of civil engineering in the battle to reduce global poverty.

It told MPs that the government did not understand how infrastructure underpins sustainable development in the third world.

'Global poverty cannot be solved without tackling water, access, sanitation, energy and infrastructure issues, ' said ICE appropriate development panel chairman Peter Cameron. He was giving evidence to the science and technology select committee.

He told MPs that the ICE was 'warned off' using the word 'infrastructure' when contributing to a Department for International Development (DfID) consultation on research priorities.

'Providing infrastructure services is low down the list of priorities set by DfID, ' said Cameron. 'They have said they will go away and think about it, but that itself implies a lack of importance.'

DfID deputy head of research Peter O'Neill said that it was only a perception that the prominence of civil engineering research work was in decline.

He said that civil engineering infrastructure was 'part of the package of work to alleviate global poverty', but it must compete with work to increase agricultural productivity and the fight against communicable diseases.

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