UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization



Engineering: Issues and Challenges for Development

First UNESCO International Engineering Report

Engineering: Issues and Challenges for Development

Engineering is of vital importance in human economic, social and cultural development and in addressing the UN Millenium Development Goals, especially poverty reduction and environmental sustainability.

This is the first ever international report on engineering from UNESCO, and it is intended to:

  • Identify issues and challenges facing engineering
  • Promote better public understanding of engineering and its role in society, and
  • Highlight ways of making engineering and engineering education more attractive to young people, especially women

Engineers create knowledge, technology and infrastructure – our knowledge societies and economies were built by engineers and much of the history of civilisation is the history of engineering, which is perhaps the oldest profession.

Engineering is so successful and pervasive; however, that it can be taken for granted and is often overlooked by the public and policy makers. At the same time, less young people in many countries are going into engineering, and there are worldwide concerns about declining human capacity and the consequences for poverty reduction and sustainable development. Reports of shortages of engineers in key sectors are common. This is compounded by the brain-drain of engineers from developing countries and out of engineering. These issues are linked and provide an opportunity for change: the public perception of engineering reflects the changing needs for engineering, and need for engineering to change, and young people are concerned about global issues and attracted to engineering as a means to address them.


The report will share information, experience, practical ideas and examples for policy-makers, decision-takers, planners and governments to promote the engagement and application of engineering to important global agendas. The report will examine the situation and context of engineering – areas of engineering, the engineering profession, a review of engineering around the world, the future of engineering, capacity needs, engineering and technical education and training systems and applications of engineering.

The report will have a soft launch at the World Engineers’ Convention in Brasilia on 2-6 December 2008, and be published at UNESCO in spring 2009.

For further information, please contact the Editor of the Report:
::  Tony Marjoram, Head of Engineering, Basic and Engineering Sciences, UNESCO, tel: +331 456 84178; fax:+331 456 85821/85820 

Related links:
::  Engineering Programme at UNESCO (More)
::  World Engineers Convention (WEC) - Official website
::  Leaflet of the UNESCO Engineering Report [.pdf]
::  Women’s Forum - 2008 World Engineers' Convention (More)


  • Source:UNESCO SC
  • 24-11-2008
Europe and North America Latin America and the Caribbean Africa Arab States Asia Pacific