Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sixty Years On: UNESCO and the Challenges and Opportunities for Engineering

This is a very interestingPower Point presentation made by Tony Marjorem for a talk at the Institution of Civil Engineers on 28 November, 2005.

It should be obvious to all, as it was to our ancestors in the Industrial Revolution, that a strong infrastructure is essential for economic development. Canals, railroads, and roads are needed to move goods. The energy infrastructure, including electrical power generation and distribution, and the production and distribution of fossil fuels are critical to manufacturing, transportation, not to mention air-conditioning and heating. The ICT infrastructure of telecommunications and computers has produced the information revolution. Water and sanitation infrastructure not only is crucial for good health, but as those people who spend much of their lives drawing and carrying water know all to well, produces great savings of effort. All are dependendent on professional engineering. So to is modern manufacturing. Agriculture is made more productive via the efforts of engineers who build the irrigation infrastructure and are responsible for agricultural machinery.

The United Nations system includes agencies that support the health professions, the agricultural professions, the environmental professions, and the manufacturing professions. It is only UNESCO that has stepped up to begin to provide cross-cutting support for the engineering professions. This is a critically important function, since the engineering professions cross-fertilize each other, and since engineering education benefits considerably from interdisciplinary approaches.

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