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Building peace in the minds of men and women

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development

3 March

Engineering has always had an essential role in development and human welfare. Ensuring that future generations of engineers and scientists will be able to design solutions for local and global challenges is critical.

UNESCO's General Conference proclaimed the 4 March World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development during its 40th session in November 2019 (40 C/64), to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life, which is essential to mitigate the impact of climate change and advance sustainable development, especially in Africa and the small island developing states (SIDS).

In spite of the importance of engineering for our life and future, women have been historically underrepresented in engineering fields, typically making up only 10 – 20% of the engineering work force.  Even in countries where the numbers of women studying STI have increased, this trend has not translated into more women entering the workplace. Too many female students who graduate do not go into the engineering profession. The barriers are often connected to persistent gender stereotypes in this field, inadequate policies or educational environments that do not meet their needs and aspirations.
UNESCO is placing a high priority on activities that promote awareness of engineering as a career, as well as on those that demonstrate the importance of youth studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).


"Engineering has helped to shape the world for millennia and now more than ever, the world needs engineering. (...)

Engineering is one of the keys to sustainable development, and in order to unlock all its potential, there needs to be more equality in the world. This is the twofold message which UNESCO seeks to convey on the first edition of World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development."

—  Audrey Azoulay, Director General, Message on the occasion of World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, 4 March 2020

Download the complete message in PDF
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2020 commemoration

World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is celebrated for the first time on 4 March 2020, accross the world.

The launch of the first World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development that was planned to take place on 4 March 2020 at UNESCO Headquarters in Room II and XI (Fontenoy Building), was cancelled due to the precautionary measures adopted globally linked to the Coronavirus spread.

A pdf brochure with messages of the day is available on the UNESCO Digital Library: 

An exhibition is displayed on the UNESCO gates in Paris, France.


Key messages

  • Engineering has been changing the world for millennia, and the new rapidly emerging technologies are an opportunity for positive transformation that leaves no one behind.
  • The world is still experiencing, on average, a shortage of engineers in all domains.
  • We are still observing a decline of interest and enrollment in engineering by young people, especially women.
  • We must address gender segregation in engineering and deconstruct sterotypes by showcasing important engineering role models and developing programmes to encourage more girls to consider engineering as a career.
  • The world is still experiencing a brain drain of all qualified engineers from developing countries to developed countries.
  • Policy-makers must take into consideration the need and importance of engineering for sustainable development.
  • Innovation in engineering is necessary to better adapt and address today’s global challenges and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Engineering is essential for economic advancement and for the implementation of new technologies and the application of science, including for basic needs of food, health, housing, roads and transport, water, energy and management of the planet’s resources.
  • Engineer is a vital profession in addressing basic human needs, in alleviating poverty, in promoting secure and sustainable development, in responding to emergency situations, in reconstructing infrastructure, in bridging the knowledge divide and in promoting intercultural cooperation.

UNESCO Engineering Report

The second UNESCO Engineering Report is under preparation. It continues and builds upon the work, findings and recommendations of the first UNESCO Engineering Report, “Engineering: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities for Development”, published in 2010. The second UNESCO Engineering Report has a focus on the role of engineering in development and addressing the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.