The recent General Conference passed a resolution stating that it:
Requests the Director-General to particularly focus on engineering education, especially at the universities and targeting curricular innovation, with a view to gear engineering education towards sustainable development, the attainment of the internationally agreed development goals and other emerging challenges, and to build in this regard, as well as on the lead role of UNESCO in the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.The following was offered in support of that resolution:
1. Engineering is crucial for innovation and economic development, but it is also a key factor in advancing social and human development, especially in addressing global challenges such as poverty alleviation, energy, climate change, land degradation and water scarcity.
2. At the same time, engineering is an evolving part of society. As the UNESCO Engineering Report of 2010 has demonstrated, there are serious concerns all around the world about a decline of interest and enrollment by young people in engineering and therefore shortages of engineers, and about the brain drain from developing countries.
3. The Executive Board at its 185th session had asked the Director-General for proposals regarding the strengthening of education, capacity-building and research in the field of engineering, in the context of the submission of the Draft Programme and Budget for 2012-2013 (36 C/5).
4. In document 186 EX/INF.4, the Director-General made her first preliminary proposals on a flexible, cost-effective, cross-cutting UNESCO Engineering Initiative whose objective was to address key challenges of engineering education, capacity-building and development. Answers will be sought why young people around the world are turning away from engineering and how this may be addressed, the public understanding of engineering will be promoted, as well as the effective application of engineering and green technologies to poverty reduction, sustainable development and climate change.
5. Document 186 EX/INF.4 has noted strong interest on collaborating on this UNESCO Engineering initiative, as expressed by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), organizations such as the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), International Federation of Consulting Engineers (FIDIC) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB). As could be witnessed at the World Engineering Convention in Geneva 2011, international and national engineering associations are interested in joining the UNESCO Engineering Initiative. A crucial objective will be to align engineering education with the objectives of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, in order to fully leverage engineering expertise to the benefit of mankind. This task can only be addressed by joining the efforts of UNESCO, its Member States, as well as international and national associations and institutions involved in promoting engineering.