The Official E-Newsletter of the Institution of Engineers Sri Lanka   |  Issue 52 - March 2021

World Engineering Day 2021 Celebrations at IESL


World engineering day celebration was held on 4th of March 2021 from 6.00 PM at the institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka (IESL) jointly with Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science (SLAAS) and Institute of Environmental Professionals Sri Lanka (IEPSL). The theme for the event was “Towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals: The industry perspectives”.

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is celebrated on 4th March every year as a UNESCO international day of celebration of engineers and engineering.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs) are reckoned to be the crux of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development for the entire world. Out of the 17 SDGs, the Goals for Water, Energy, Sustainable Infrastructure and Innovation are the areas where engineers are needed the most. Today, a multitude of industries have embraced the achievement of SDGs as a priority, as they understand its importance for a better future for the planet. In the Sri Lankan context, the major industrial clusters that can contribute to achieving the SDGs include energy, water, garment, and construction. Although Engineers have been at the forefront of achieving targets for sustainable development, it appears that industrial contributions towards achieving SDGs are at an infancy level. However, some industries have been pioneering the nation’s efforts of achieving SDGs, and many in-house developments have already taken place. This panel discussion focuses on disseminating some of the industry experiences in terms of the SDGs’ achievements for a better Sri Lanka. This forum will be an excellent platform to discuss ideas to strengthen the sustainable development initiatives in the industrial environment.

Welcome speech – by the President- IESL Eng. K P I U Dharmapala

World Engineering day message for sustainable development – by President-Elect - IESL, Eng. Arjuna Manamperi

Opening remarks – by the President IEPSL – Eng. (Prof)(Mrs) Niranjanie Ratnayake

World Engineering Day – Background

The World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development was proclaimed by UNESCO at its 40th General Conference in 2019. It is celebrated worldwide on 4th March of each year since 2020. The day offers an opportunity to highlight engineers' and engineering’s achievements in our modern world and improve public understanding of how engineering and technology are central to modern life and for sustainable development.

The World Engineering Day 2021 (WED2021), with the theme “Engineering for A Healthy Planet- Celebrating the UNESCO Engineering Report”, will focus on celebrating the launch of the 2nd UNESCO Engineering Report “Engineering for Sustainable Development: Delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals”. Ten years after the publication of the 1st UNESCO Engineering Report, “Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development”, the new report highlights the crucial role of engineering in delivering the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, shows how inclusive and gender equitable engineering profession can bring about new perspectives and thus respond to the shortage of engineers, showcases of engineering innovations for implementation of the SDGs, analyses the progresses in and challenges in engineering education and capacity building, and summarizes the regional trends of engineering development. Finally, it gives recommendations for developing engineering for the SDGs, and calls for global cooperation with multiple stakeholders to promote development of engineering for the SDGs.

UNESCO holds an online ceremony to launch the report from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm, 4th March 2021 (CET). Besides this main event, UNESCO field offices and Category 2 Institutes and Centres under UNESCO’s auspices around the globe will organise local launch events.

World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), together with its members and partners, will celebrate the World Engineering Day around 4 March, including a series of webinars, Poster Design Competition, Videos Collection from Young Engineers, etc.

All engineering institutions, universities, and businesses are invited to celebrate the World Engineering Day.

Presentation on Energy Industry: Eng. (Dr.) Asanka Rodrigo, Former Director General, Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority

Presentation on Water Industry: Eng . Deepthi Sumanasekara, Former General Manager, National Water Supply and Drainage Board

Presentation on Construction Industry: Eng (Prof.) Rangika Halwathura, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa

Presentation on Apparel Industry: Eng. Jarook Mohomad, Head of Environmental Sustainability at Brandix Pvt. Ltd.

Presentation on Environmental Education: Eng. (Prof.) T. M. Pallewatta, Department of Civil Engineering, The Open University Sri Lanka

About World Engineering Day

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development will be celebrated on 4th March every year as a UNESCO international day of celebration of engineers and engineering.

The 40th General Conference of UNESCO has adopted the resolution to proclaim 4th March of every year a World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development in November 2019. The World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) proposed 4th March as World Engineering Day, the founding day of the Federation, as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Federation in 2018. This is an opportunity to celebrate the important contributions of engineers and engineering to sustainable development and modern life.

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development will be celebrated annually from 2020 onwards. Organizations and offices of the United Nations system, and most importantly, governments, civil society, the public and private sectors, schools, universities, and more generally, citizens, are expected to make the international day a springboard for awareness-raising actions.

WFEO received some 80 letters of support from peak international and national institutions, academies and national commissions to UNESCO, representing 23 million engineers around the world.

This resolution was backed by member states of UNESCO with support from more than 40 nations including Namibia, China, Tanzania, Mozambique, Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia, Uruguay, Senegal, Liberia, Nigeria, Turkey, Madagascar, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mali, Iraq, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Serbia, Saudi Arabia, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Russian Federation, Poland, Kenya, Iran, Nicaragua, Oman, Bangladesh, France, Comoros Islands, Liberia, Jordan, Philippines, and UK. “Engineers aren’t very good at articulating the value of engineering and the impact that engineers and engineering have on society. This is a wonderful opportunity to talk about these aspects and engage the community in the work of engineers”, said Dr. Marlene Kanga, the Past President of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations, who led the proposal for the Day.

An international day with coordinated celebrations across the world is an opportunity to increase the profile of engineering. The Day is also an opportunity to engage with government and industry to address the need for engineering capacity and the quality of engineers around the world and develop strategic frameworks and best practices for the implementation of engineering solutions for sustainable development.

The celebration of World Engineering Day is also about promoting engineering as a career and how it is an opportunity to change the world for better. There is a great deal to be done specially to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries to ensure that everyone has access to clean water, sanitation, reliable energy, and other basic human needs. In all countries, there is also a great deal to be done – to deal with the impacts of climate change, environmental issues, our growing cities and the challenges of new technologies including artificial intelligence. There are many opportunities and the Day can be used to engage with young people and say “If you want to change the world for the better, become an engineer.”

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