On 3 June, the Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, and the President of China, Xi Jinping opened the International Conference on Engineering Science and Technology.
This Conference addressed the theme “Engineering and the Future of Humankind” and was held at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China.
More than 1800 scientists and engineers, including presidents of engineering academies, came from across the world to the conference.
"Engineering has powered the history of humanity," said the President. "Every part of life is touched by its impact."
He underlined the critical role of engineering today, at a time when the traditional model of development has become unsustainable. A new model for 'innovation-driven' human development, he said, is needed to address a wide range of challenges.
"If people continue to consume resources at the current pace, the future of the world is in doubt," said the President.
President Xi highlighted the central place of engineering for China's past and future development -- noting the country's 42 million engineers as key actors for building a new model of human development.
The President said the world was becoming a true global village -- "a community of shared destiny" -- and called for ever deeper cooperation between countries.
He underlined the role of UNESCO here, recalling his visit to UNESCO headquarters on 27 March, 2014.
"UNESCO plays an irreplaceable role in promoting stronger understanding and cooperation between countries and people," said the President, underlining the importance of engineering for the quality of life, productivity and environmental protection.
"Engineering, science and technology adds wings to the dreams of humanity," said the President.
“Challenges are complex and global today,” said the Director-General, in her opening speech.
“Engineering plays an indispensable role in channelling the results of scientific research into new products and services for the benefit of all."
Irina Bokova called for new approaches to engineering education, research and capacity-building, to support States in shaping a new global development agenda to follow 2015.
The Director-General presented the UNESCO Engineering Initiative and the Organisation's support to engineering education across the world, especially to increase the involvement of girls and women.
"UNESCO was born in 1945 at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London, and our mandate to promote cooperation in engineering, science and technology has never been more important," said Irina Bokova.
This two-day Conference is organized by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences and UNESCO – with the goal of shaping a new vision of engineering, science and technology for sustainable development.
Organised by Mr Zhou Ji, President of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Conference provides a platform for participants from engineering academies, industries, research institutions and governmental agencies all over the world to explore the future development of engineering to meet global challenges today.