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On World Engineering Day celebrate engineers' impact in delivering sustainable development

04 March 2020

4 March marks the first World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development – an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of engineering and the impact of all engineers in delivering sustainable development globally.

On World Engineering Day celebrate engineers' impact in delivering sustainable development
Celebrating the impact engineers have on delivering sustainable development globally. Image credit: Shutterstock

One of the goals of the UN’s World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is to raise awareness of civil engineering and its impact on modern life. Achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will help us build a society that is fit for the future – and civil engineers play a part in that.

In order to achieve many of these changes though, we need effective policy – to both allow and encourage change. ICE, through its ongoing policy work is helping to do this in two important ways.

Firstly, through our Enabling Better Infrastructure programme that we launched towards the end of last year and secondly via our annual State of the Nation report, which is this year focused on the contribution of the infrastructure sector to achieving the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

Enabling Better Infrastructure programme

The programme consists of a report and an online resource hub that both detail how national governments can improve infrastructure provision. Specifically, the report puts forward 12 guiding principles for infrastructure decision makers to aid them in planning and prioritising infrastructure networks.

In doing so it positions the SDGs as a strategic starting point in assessing the required infrastructure needs of any given country and by extension the type of national infrastructure strategy that would be necessary to deliver against these.

The SDGs were established to meet these challenges head on, which is why they have been positioned as the starting point for the 12 guiding principles.

The ICE has briefed international government stakeholders (and senior industry representatives) from a range of countries on the Enabling Better Infrastructure Programme, including officials from: the United States, South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and El Salvador.

Further development and engagement activity is planned throughout 2020 to ensure that we are championing sustainable development and putting it at the heart of infrastructure delivery around the world.

State of the Nation 2020: net-zero

Closer to home the ICE has decided to focus its annual State of the Nation report on the steps required to achieve the UK’s legally binding 2050 net-zero emissions target.

Specifically, it is seeking to identify the range of policy interventions that are required across the full range of economic infrastructure sectors – from transport and the utilities, through to flood risk and waste management – to ensure that the target is achieved.

The report will be published on 1 July and whilst it will only contain policy recommendations for UK government it is worth noting that these, in part, will be inspired by some of the approaches that are being taken by other governments to hit similar targets.

In particular, the solutions that are being developed in some of the Scandinavian countries on embedding net-zero considerations in infrastructure supply chains. In this respect the report will still serve as a platform for showcasing international best practice in relation to sustainable development.

  • Ben Goodwin, lead policy manager at ICE