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FIDIC 2009: concrete solutions to going low carbon

UK consultants should clear their diaries and head for London from 13-16 September this year for an event that will shape the industry for years to come, says ACE chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin

In September London will play host to what is shaping up to be the largest international gathering of professional consultants and engineers ever seen in the UK. FIDIC 2009, the annual conference of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers, will see engineering and construction professionals from more than 70 countries gather in the capital.

Working in close partnership with governments, funding institutions, developers, contractors, investors and development agencies, the conference, entitled Delivering Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges, will be the place to be for leading and shaping debate and for working together to promote effective, long-term sustainable solutions to the world’s key infrastructure and development challenges.

Interest in the conference is already high, with hundreds of people registering their intention to attend.

As the UK member of FIDIC, the Association for Consultancy & Engineering (ACE) is delighted and proud to be hosting such a prestigious event.

It’s a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best of our industry to the world and will provide an unrivalled forum for consultants and engineers to discuss business opportunities with clients and project professionals from around the globe.

In an increasingly global society, the solutions to the major infrastructure and development challenges we face must be widely accepted and above all sustainable, to be effective.

As the need for developing and redeveloping towns, cities and urban spaces increases, and with the emerging economies still expanding – albeit more slowly in the current recession – the need for well thought out low-carbon design solutions becomes ever more critical.

FIDIC 2009 London will discuss those solutions and come up with a series of concrete actions to be implemented after the event.

The four main business sessions at the conference will tackle a series of crucial issues.

We will discuss and debate the big industry challenges facing professional engineers, as well as the responses we’ll need to overcome them.

What could limit our response to these challenges? A lack of technical expertise, training and resources? Confidence in our own abilities? Sufficient knowledge and understanding of the challenges? Leadership and direction? Political will and support? Financial resources? All of these could limit the response of the engineering industry, but all can be overcome if we work together and use the collective power we have for change.

FIDIC 2009 London will also look at regional and sectoral hot spots around the world and the international business opportunities for consultants and engineers. We’ll also put our own representative organisations under the spotlight and examine the role of FIDIC, ACE and other associations and institutions in the lobbying process.

Above all though, this conference – as its title suggests – is about solutions. Before delegates leave London we will thrash out a strategy that will identify the role of engineers in the delivery of sustainable, low-carbon solutions to global challenges, identify the actions we need to position the engineering community to take the lead
and prepare a plan of action to deliver.

I urge all UK consultancy and engineering firms to be part of the debate at FIDIC 2009 London. It is a golden opportunity for firms to take part in and shape the international debate on the future of our sector and its place in the world and is your chance to rub shoulders with key decision makers and opinion formers from around the globe.

FIDIC 2009 London will take place at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in Westminster from 13-16 September 2009. For information contact ACE’s Mai Cheung or visit www.acefidic2009.co.uk