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Engineers discuss UN development goals

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More than 2,500 delegates from 82 countries met at the Global Engineering Congress in October at the ICE to discuss how the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved.

The week-long event, hosted by the ICE and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), featured more than 200 speakers across more than 100 sessions.

The Congress began with WFEO president Marlene Kanga reading a statement from UN secretary general Antonio Gutters. He congratulated the ICE on its bicentenary and highlighted its “significant contributions to the development of the very infrastructure of modern life”.

“The United Nations will continue to count on your engagement and support as we strive to achieve the 17 SDGs – the world’s blueprint for building a future of peace and prosperity for all on a healthy planet,” said Gutters’ statement.

“Every one of the goals requires solutions rooted in science, technology and engineering.”

During the Congress the ICE, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) released a joint statement of intent to take action on sustainable development.

ICE President Lord Mair said: “By using the SDGs as the focus and the GEC as the forum, we will advocate the benefits of taking a sustainable approach through our public voice and policy work… we must focus on ensuring the engineering bodies collectively address the SDGs – by demonstrating strong leadership, advocacy and collaboration. Together, we can make a difference.”

During the GEC, the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) also launched a new report on the cross-sector impact of infrastructure and its effect on several SDGs.

Over the next few months, the ICE will consider the Congress themes, topics and discussions to develop a practical route-map to enable the worldwide engineering profession to deliver the SDGs by 2030.

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