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Sustainable Engineering

© UNESCO/Al-Amin Yusuph
A Masaii woman learns to use a solar/wind radio set distributed to women listeners of the Community Radios supported by UNESCO through the Tanzania Election Support Project.

Sustainable engineering is the process of using resources in a way that does not compromise the environment or deplete the materials for future generations. Sustainable engineering requires an interdisciplinary approach in all aspects of engineering and it should not be designated as a sole responsibility of environmental engineering. All engineering fields should incorporate sustainability into their practice in order to improve the quality of life for all.

One way of measuring the socio-economic improvement of societies is the Millennium Development Goals. Through creating and maintaining the physical infrastructures that help eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, achieve universal primary education, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health, engineers are demonstrating their social and environmental responsibility to sustainably develop societies.

Furthermore, with the creation of the Sustainable Development Goals, engineers will continue to play a decisive role in their success. The necessity for environmentally-friendly technologies in the future will require the expertise of engineers.

Therefore, the UNESCO Engineering Initiative (UEI) is working with partners to develop engineering curricula that incorporate sustainability as an overarching theme. Recently, the UEI in partnership with the Association of German Engineers, the German Commission for UNESCO and leading German educational facilities and companies, created the Quality Engineering for Sustainability initiative. This initiative aims to develop North-South-South partnerships  by integrating sustainability topics into engineering education.

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