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Young engineers unite to promote sustainability agenda

ICE news :

YOUNG UK engineers who attended an international summit on world wide sustainable development will form part of a new global youth pressure group.

The International Young Professionals Foundation will seek to exert pressure on international, national and local leaders to improve worldwide sustainability.

Four members of the ICE's Graduates and Students National Committee - Jim Bell and Jason Harriman of Mott MacDonald; Helen Field of Maunsell; and Fiona Geddes, an Environment Agency engineer, attended the International Young Professionals Summit (IYPS) on the Australian Gold Coast (NCE 27 September).

IYPS 2001 focused on eliminating poverty, enhancing social capital, reducing environmental destruction and embracing sustainable practices.

More than 100 people from wide-ranging professional backgrounds and all corners of the globe were brought together for the IYPS. Ages ranged from 18-35 years old.

In Brisbane, the ICE team linked up with the Commonwealth Young Professionals Network.

IYPS was opened by chairman of the Commonwealth Engineers' Council (CEC), former ICE president Tony Ridley.

Delegates were treated to a dramatic display of traditional dancing by a local aboriginal tribe.

Over the following three days, delegates grappled with pressing sustainability issues, developing calls for action.

The ICE delegates' aims were to highlight the role the Institution plays in environmental and sustainability issues and to facilitate three sustainability workshops.

Sessions with the DeBono Centre for Thinking stimulated some of the most productive ideas from the delegates. Idea generation and discussion sessions were punctuated with talks from eminent speakers in specific topic areas.

The potential of the Earth Charter - a document that defines a common set of principles for a sustainable way of life - was one of the areas discussed. It was decided that there is an urgent need for the principles of the Earth Charter to be incorporated into the governmental decision making process.

Sustainable housing solutions in Brisbane, progress towards sustainable development in the UK, global warming, the role of engineers in sustainable development and employment, were also discussed.

Improvements in education and knowledge sharing on sustainable development issues were recommended, with improved leadership and planning.

The summit called for the removal of legislation and the introduction of flexibility and incentives into planning systems, encouraging innovation.

A major conference was due to take place in Brisbane a few days later during which IYPS calls for action were to be delivered to Commonwealth heads of government and other world and business leaders. But the 11 September terrorist strikes meant the conference had to be cancelled.

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