WFEO-UNESCO Joint Meeting for Member States – The strategic role of engineering for accelerating the delivery of the 2030 Agenda

This joint event presented the UNESCO-WFEO partnership and contributions to the SDGs by working with Member States, especially on engineering capacity building and education, and how it is relevant to the variety of regional and national contexts with regard to building more inclusive and responsible communities. It took place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, Room IV, Thursday 27 October 2022.

The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) was created under the auspices of UNESCO in 1968, and represents some 30 million engineers through its 100 members, which are national and regional professional engineering institutions. 

WFEO is an NGO in official relations with UNESCO (associate status), as well as in liaison status at the United Nations ECOSOC and with other UN agencies and intergovernmental agencies. UNESCO and WFEO have now a +50-year history of fruitful cooperation. In 2018, a symposium was held at UNESCO to celebrate this anniversary.

Engineering has always been a means to address UNESCO’s priorities, and has become increasingly important in order to progress the Sustainable Development Goals. 

Amongst recent achievements, WFEO had initiated the creation of a UNESCO World Engineering Day (WED) for Sustainable Development (approved by UNESCO’s 40th General Conference, 2019), and since then has been coordinating the celebration of this Day worldwide, on 4 March of each year, bringing considerable attention to the role of engineers and engineering in achieving the 17 SDGs. The celebration of the World Engineering Day has greatly increased the awareness of SDGs in engineering communities and mobilized engineers all over the world actively engaged in the implementation of SDGs in engineering practices. 

In 2021, WFEO worked closely with UNESCO and made significant contributions to the second edition of UNESCO’s Engineering Report, Engineering for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals, officially launched on 4 March 2021, in the context of accelerating actions to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. The report includes important recommendations on many fields of engineering which are relevant to the SDGs, with a special focus on the critical role of engineering capacity building and engineering education to train more engineers with the right skills. 

Together, the Sector for Natural Sciences and WFEO have set a good example of how the sectors, Member States and NGOs in official relations can work together towards objectives that serve the common good.
The presentations are available in the links below.


2:00 p.m. – 2:05 p.m.Opening Remarks, by Abou Amani, Director, Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO
Session 1 – UNESCO and WFEO: a long history of partnership for engineering – Moderator Dr Marlene Kanga, Past President, WFEO
2:05 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.Welcome address, by Ezra Clark, Director a.i., Division of Science Policy and Basic Science, UNESCO
2:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.General introduction: The role of WFEO and the importance of bringing together the global community of engineersby Prof. José Vieira, WFEO President
2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.From WFEO’s creation to the World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development: reflecting on UNESCO’s and WFEO’s shared accomplishmentsby Prof. Gong Ke, Immediate Past President, WFEO
Session 2 – Recent Milestones and Key Initiatives – Moderator José Vieira, WFEO President
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science: a strategic global framework to accelerate the delivery of SDGsby Ana Persic, Programme Specialist, Science Technology Innovation Policy, UNESCO
3:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.WFEO’s projects in engineering education (mentoring programmes, WFEO Academy)by Dr. Marlene Kanga, WFEO Past President
3:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.Engineering Initiatives in Disaster Risk Management: WFEO’s Committee on DRM, World Bank, IRDR, Sendai Frameworkby Prof José Macharé, Chair WFEO Committee on DRM
3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.Young Engineers Initiatives on SDG13by Firas Bou Diab, Chair Young Engineers / Future Leaders Committee
3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.Coffee Break
Session 3– Mobilizing Engineers for UNESCO Member States’ Priorities – Moderator Amal Kasry, Chief of Section, Basic Science, Research Innovation and Engineering, UNESCO
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.Roundtable – Engineering as a lever to achieve UNESCO’s priorities for Africa and SIDS, by Raj Prayag Hemansingh, Past President, Institution of Engineers of Mauritius, Yetunde Holloway, Chair, WFEO Women in Engineering committee, and Soichiro Yasukawa, Chief of Disaster Risk Reduction Unit, UNESCO.
4:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.Q&A session
4:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Closing by Mustafa Shehu, President-elect, WFEO
5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.Reception

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