WFEO e-News World Federation of Engineering Organizations Newsletter N° 37 WFEO Editorial GRAND CHALLENGES FOR ENGINEERING IN THE 21ST CENTURY The U. S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington announced on February 2008 the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. A diverse committee of experts from around the world, convened at the request of the U. S. National Science Foundation, revealed 14 challenges that, if met, would improve how we live. “Tremendous advances in quality of life have come from improved technology in areas such as farming and manufacturing,” said committee member and Google co-founder Larry Page. If we focus our effort on the important grand challenges of our age, we can hugely improve the future. ” The panel, some of the most accomplished engineers and scientists of their generation, was established in 2006 and met several times to discuss and develop the list of challenges. Through an interactive Web site, the effort received worldwide input from prominent engineers and scientists, as well as from the general public, over a one-year period. The panel’s conclusions were reviewed by more than 50 subject-matter experts.
The final choices fall into four themes that are essential for humanity to flourish -sustainability, health, reducing vulnerability, and joy of living. The committee did not attempt to include every important challenge, nor did it endorse particular approaches to meeting those selected. Rather than focusing on predictions or gee-whiz gadgets, the goal was to identify what needs to be done to help people and the planet thrive. “We chose engineering challenges that we feel can, through creativity and commitment, be realistically met, most of them early in this century,” said committee chair and former U.
S. Secretary of Defence William J. Perry. “Some can be, and should be, achieved as soon as possible. ” The committee decided not to rank the challenges. NAE is offering the public an opportunity to vote on which one they think is most important and to provide comments at the project Web site http://www. engineeringchallenges. org. The Grand Challenges site features a five-minute video overview of the project along with committee member interview excerpts. A podcast of the news conference announcing the challenges is available on the site. Meeting these challenges would be ‘game changing,'” said NAE president Charles M. Vest. “Success with any one of them could dramatically improve life for everyone. ” The Challenges • Make solar energy affordable • Provide energy from fusion • Develop carbon sequestration methods • Manage the nitrogen cycle • Provide access to clean water • Restore and improve urban infrastructure • Advance health informatics • Engineer better medicines 1 • • • • • • Reverse-engineer the brain Prevent nuclear terror Secure cyberspace Enhance virtual reality Advance personalized learning Engineer the tools for scientific discovery
WFEO News Consulting Engineers Africa Conferences 2008 FIDIC’s Group of African Member Associations GAMA, hold its annual Africa regional conference GAMA 2008 in Tunis from 22 to 25 June. The event was organized in cooperation with the Tunisian Consulting Engineers’ Association-ANBEIC, the African Development Bank and the Tunisian Renewable Energies Agency. In workshops and seminars with the participation of the International Federation of Consulting Engineers FIDIC, the participants discussed the themes Energy and the Environment as well as Contracts and Dispute Resolution.
A feature of the GAMA Conference was African Development Bank Workshop on 23 June (Lending programme; Business opportunities; Infrastructure, Water and Environment, sector information). The participants emphasised that the African consulting engineers play an important role in fighting the negative aspects of the expensive fuel prices in overcoming the impact of fuel prices increase and highlighted the necessity to build African Engineers Groups to address competitiveness and give perspectives for future generations.
FIDIC President John Boyd underlined that the engineer’s role is reflected in the world cities which represent only 2% of the total area but attract 50% of the world population, produce 80% of the greenhouse gas emissions and use 75% of the available energy. Engineers should reconsider their approach to face the significant challenges and find solutions for energy saving, act for the use of renewable energies and rethink the urban traffic for more environmentally friendly transportation. www. fidic. org/gama
Broadband for Africa: A report that focuses on the lack of high-capacity backbone networks in Africa Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa see ICT as a foundation of long-term economic development. The region has been very successful in increasing access to basic voice communications but there has been no comparable improvement in broadband connectivity. The broadband access gap between Sub-Saharan Africa and the rest of the world is getting wider, just as the gap in basic voice communications is getting smaller.
Increasing access to broadband connectivity is therefore emerging as a high priority for policymakers across the continent. This report addresses three specific questions: • What role do backbone networks play in the provision of broadband services, • what is the current state of backbone network development in Sub-Saharan Africa and why, and, • What can be done to promote the development of backbone networks and thereby stimulate the take-up of broadband services?
There are two reasons why the rate of broadband connectivity in Sub-Saharan Africa is so low. Prices are very high and availability is limited: • The average retail price for basic broadband (xDSL) in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2006 was US$366 per month, compared with US$6-US$44 per month in India. Typical prices for entry level broadband services in Europe average around US$40 per month, falling as low as US$12 per month some European countries. 2 Figure 1 compare the average price per 100kbit/s download speed for the cheapest broadband • The region also has very limited coverage of the fixed line access telephone networks which have been used to provide broadband access in the rest of the world. The average fixed line penetration rates in the region currently lies below 2% and, in many countries, the number of fixed lines is declining as people switch to mobile telephones. http://www. infodev. org/en/Publication. 526. html Mondialogo Engineering Award 2009 Daimler and UNESCO invite student engineers from universities around the world to apply for the largest international engineering competition – the Mondialogo Engineering Award.
Registration is open until 31 October 2008 at www. mondialogo. org The award carries prize money totaling € 300,000. It is intended that these awards be used as seed funding to help develop and initiate the proposed projects. In the Mondialogo Engineering Award, student engineers from developing and developed countries are challenged to form International Project Teams to develop ideas and design project proposals for sustainable solutions to problems in developing countries.
The focus is on the design of innovative technologies to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development and address other United Nations Millennium Development Goals, in such fields as environmental protection, energy, water supply and sanitation, waste management, use of natural resources, medical care, nutrition, housing, hygiene, disaster protection, mobility, communication and climate change – a key concern of the Mondialogo Engineering Award.
International Project Teams eligible to apply for the Mondialogo Engineering Award should consist of two student groups from two higher education establishments, with one group from a developing country and the other from a developed country. The Mondialogo Internet Portal www. mondialogo. org acts as a contact centre for groups to meet each other, and will later function as a virtual office for inter-group 3 communications. Teams will have time until April 2009 to develop and design their project proposals.
An international jury will then assesses the entries and decide on the awarding, which will be part of a festive ceremony in later 2009. Key factors in the assessment are sustainability, technical quality, feasibility of the project proposals and the quality of the intercultural cooperation between the teams. Through the competition Daimler and UNESCO aim to promote international cooperation, intercultural dialogue and the exchange of knowledge among student engineers, universities and higher education establishments.
The Mondialogo Engineering Award is part of the Mondialogo project initiated and launched by Daimler and UNESCO in 2003. The Mondialogo Initiative also consists of the Mondialogo School Contest and the multilingual Mondialogo Internet Portal. The aim of the Mondialogo project is to encourage cooperation and dialogue between people from different countries and cultures, working together across continents on a joint project activity. This cooperation is intended to develop understanding, tolerance and friendship between people with different cultural, religious and linguistic backgrounds.
WFEO Technical Standing Committees News WFEO Contribution to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD-16), 5-16 May 2008 The WFEO delegation comprised the President, Barry Grear, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Capacity Building Dan Clinton, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Environment Darrel Danyluk, the Chair of the Standing Committee on Energy Jorge Spitalnik and Mike Sanyo ASCE, teamed with ICSU (International Council for Science) as a major advisory group under the title “Science and Technology”.
WFEO delegation at UNCSD16 The meeting involved approximately 1300 people including Ministers of Environment, Ministers of Infrastructure, Ministers of Agriculture from about 25 countries, the other countries had their executives of similar departments. A total of about 100 countries were represented. The main theme for 2008/9 is Agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa.
The Commission operates with the first year being devoted to understanding the issue and the second year in discussing and agreeing to solutions. The Scientific and Technological Community Major group made 17 statements of which 11 can be sourced on the web at http://www. un. org/esa/sustdev/mgroups/about_mgroups. htm 4 The members of WFEO delegation participated with presentations highlighting the engineers’ contribution as major actors in the agricultural sector hrough activities in fertilizer production, equipment development, transportation modes, waste management, and most importantly irrigation and water management. The key point is that much of the needed knowledge already exists within the scientific and engineering communities; however, the knowledge often does not reach those that could benefit the most. Capacity building, focused on sharing the existing knowledge effectively must be a priority.
The key outcomes and statements reported by the attendees are related to topics that the engineering organizations can consider with a view to preparing responses to the following points developed in the report: Achieving sustainable development; productivity and competitiveness; efficient water resources development and management; use of food crops for producing biofuels as a source of concern; dissemination and adaptation of new and emerging technologies; iinvestments in research and development; capacity building; addressing long-term constraints; climate change; wastewater management; and response to the current food crisis. ttp://www. un. org/esa/sustdev/csd/review. htm The challenge for WFEO and the world engineering community will be to propose solutions for tabling in 2009 and then arguing for their acceptance. All national and international members are being asked to consider the points above and submit ideas and solutions which have been successful in their own areas that the delegates can propose at UNCSD-17. Read full report at: WFEO Report on UNCSD 16_2008. pdf Engineers and Architects among world leaders attending the World Justice Forum Newsletter Article by Eng.
Martin Manuhwa (Vice President of WCCE, President ZIE 2006-08). Engineers and Architects where amongst world leaders that attended the World Justice Forum (WJF) during its inaugural World Justice Forum in Vienna, Austria on July 2-5, 2008. The Forum was attended by 450 governmental and non-governmental leaders from over 95 countries, and brought together leaders from such disciplines as architecture, the arts, business, education, engineering, environment, faith, human rights, labor, law, law enforcement, media, military, public health and public safety, as well as senior officials from government organizations.
The Forum formulated eleven regional groupings as follows: Middle East and North Africa; Western Europe; Central Europe; U. S. , Canada and the Caribbean; Latin America; East Asia; Central and South Asia; Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific; Western Africa; Eastern Africa and Central and Southern Africa. Other invitees included past and current heads of state, presidents of multilateral institutions, CEOs of multinational corporations, labor leaders, and directors of key nongovernmental organizations. Engineering group at WJF The World Justice Forum The forum served as the “Founders’ Conference” for the World Justice Project (WJP) launched by the American Bar Association and based on the premise that adherence to certain rule-of-law principles is necessary for a community to offer opportunity and equity to its members through free and fair governance. The WJP is a multinational and multidisciplinary initiative to strengthen the rule of law worldwide.
The WJP is based on two complementary premises, that is; the rule of law is the foundation for communities of opportunity and equity and multidisciplinary collaboration is the most effective way to advance the rule of law. The WJF aim was for participants to develop and commit to programs involving multiple disciplines to strengthen the rule of law within and among world regions. Participants met by discipline to identify the ways in which the absence of the rule of law affects their disciplines and how professionals in their fields can contribute to advancing the rule of law.
Also participants met within their respective regions to develop multidisciplinary programs to strengthen the rule of law which they will commit to implement during the next year. Architectural and Engineering group break-away session The Engineering and Architects group held discussions on how laws are too static and inhibit innovation and that there is an excess of laws and regulations that impede accomplishments. It was noted that there is need to balance between what should be regulated and not. The right law is the one that achieves the minimum needs but has to allow for innovation and change.
The laws need to set objectives and not be specific. The problem about command and control of the laws is it sets undue restrictions on activities and also opens the doors to corruption. Also discussed was that the interpretation of law can be limiting. The interpretations eventually become the law, shifting its initial meaning. In some countries insurance protocols and procedures appear to be above the law, creating another layer of rules beyond the law. Full article :http://www. wfeo. org/documents/download/WJF WFEO contribution. doc Committee on Education and Training-CET
The 8th World Congress on Engineering Education scheduled to be held in March 2009 in Malaysia is rescheduled for 2010. CEE is searching for a new organizer and host for the congress. CEE Chairman published a letter opening a Call for Proposals/Offers for engineering’s organizations to host and organize the Congress with the theme “Professional Development of Engineers in the 21st Century”. Please, e-mail your proposals (with conceivable month and venue) to Mrs. Teresa Domahska, Secretary of WFEO-CET ([email protected] org. pl) not later than July 25, 2008. 6
Committee on Information and Communication-CIC The CIC Re-activating Meeting, chaired by Prof. Zhong, was held in June 11, 2008 in Beijing, China, and was successfully closed with unanimous conclusion that ICT for Development, as an integrative embodiment of the solutions made by WSSD and WSIS as well as UN-GAID, should be taken as the most significant, and also most urgent, function for CIC to perform for the years to come. The Meeting accordingly designed and approved a flag event, titled with 2009 World Congress on ICT for Development, WCID’09 in brief, for the purpose of implementing the function.
WCID’09 will be held early September 2009 in Beijing, China. The initiative of WCID’09 has already received highly positive and very strong supports from both UN-GAID and UNESCO, according to Prof. Zhong, when he participated in UNGAID Annual Meeting during May 18-20, 2008 and the UNESCO’s Meeting for ISTIC during May 22-24, 2008 both in Malaysia . The CIC Meeting thus determined to make a report to the leadership of WFEO, sincerely requesting WFEO to take the role of sponsorships together with UN-GAID and UNESCO for WCID’09 whereas CIC will take the role as an organizer under the leadership of WFEO.
Reports 1 and 2 are available on WFEO website/CIC page. Download: CIC Report 1_June2008. doc Download: CIC Report 2_June2008. doc Committee on Women in Engineering-WIE Marie-Helene Therre, WFEO-WIE President published in the French magazine « MINES » Nr 433 from Mai-June 2008 an article about women career and women engineers as workforce. The article gives a picture about the women progress in recent years and asks for the next steps to address the challenges.
The full text in French is available at Article_MH_Therre-Revue_MINES_mai2008. pdf Capacity Building : Training Institutes to Align Efforts on Capacity-Building in Developing Countries Senior officials responsible for professional and staff training at 30 national institutes, universities, bilateral and multilateral development organizations, including the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, issued a statement on July 8, 2008 outlining their consensus on future directions for training and capacity-building.
The “Berlin Statement,” named for the site of the meeting, at which it was drafted last month, will be submitted to the upcoming OECD “High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness” in Accra, Ghana, September 2-4, 2008 “This statement is an important step to set up collaboration,” said Acting Vice President of the World Bank Institute (WBI) Rakesh Nangia. Capacity-building is the glue that holds the elements of development together, and by aligning our interventions, we will make them more effective. ” The statement includes seven key points of agreement by delegates to a June 4-5 conference on “Effectiveness of International Development Training” hosted in Berlin by InWEnt (Internationale Weiterbildung & Entwicklung – Capacity Building International), and the World Bank Institute. 1.
Effectiveness – Training in the context of capacity development 2. Guidelines for the development of training programs 3. Research on the metrics of training programs – Indicators and evaluation of training 4. Country Ownership – Strengthening training institutions 5. Alignment – Partner country needs assessments 7 6. Harmonization – International division of labour to reduce duplication and burdens on partners 7. Collaboration – Joint content development, haring rosters, didactic approaches & training formats Training experts from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the InterAmerican Development Bank (IADB), bilateral agencies such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and professionals from training institutes from around the world attended the conference. Download: Berlin Statement on International Development Training_June2008. pdf Visit: www. orldbank. org/wbi/berlinstatement WFEO Members’ News Engineering Book: 200 Questions and Answers on Practical Civil Engineering Works. Author: Vincent T. H. CHU Ir. Vincent T. H. CHU is the author of The Civil FAQ in the Hong Kong Engineer published by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers. His second book, 200 Questions and Answers on Practical Civil Engineering Works contains many useful questions that civil engineers may come across during their day-to-day work. The Author, convinced that many engineers (especially young ones) should be interested in the book, offers the possibility to free download for WFEO members.
The purpose of this initiative is to share his knowledge and engineering experience with engineers and make contributions to the engineering world. Alternatively, WFEO members can get a free copy of it. WFEO members are informed that that the author established a free civil email service called “Ask Vincent Chu” in which all engineers (especially young engineers) could send their civil engineering queries to the email [email protected] com. hk and he will provide the answers shortly. The purpose of this free service is solely to make contributions to the engineering world. Contents of the book: 1.
Bridge Works; 2. Concrete Structures; 3. Drainage Work; 4. Earthworks, 5. Piers and Marine Structures; 6. Roadworks; 7. Pumping Station; 8. Reclamation; 9. Water Retaining Structures and Waterworks; 10. Pipe Jacking and Microtunelling; 11. Piles and Foundation; 12. General Download: 200 Questions and Answers on Civil Engineering _2008. pdf Previously the author wrote for the Hong Kong Engineer (monthly journal of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers) the column “The Civil FAQ” in which he answers to commons FAQs raised by young engineers and hence provide assistance and help to all practising engineers.
A sample of the Civil FAQ is following Download: Civil Engineering FAQ. pdf Contact the Author: [email protected] com. hk European Journal of Engineering Education-EJEE The new Issue of EJEE published 3 June 2008 is devoted to Educating Engineers for Sustainable Development. More information about the content at: http://www. informaworld. com 8 Nation needs more engineers, scientists By Valerie Schremp Hahn , [email protected] com Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson After the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite in the late 1950s, President John F. Kennedy called the nation to act, to produce the engineers and scientists needed to compete.
But that was 50 years ago, and now, those engineers and scientists are retiring in droves. The nation now faces what Shirley Ann Jackson calls a “quiet crisis” in filling those positions, though more are starting to listen and act. One of them is Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N. Y. USA, and also the first African-American and woman to chair the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She spoke Monday 9 June 2008 at the Women in Engineering Proactive Network conference in St. Louis. “There’s a lot to do, but I’m an optimist,” said Jackson. But by being an engineer or scientist you are an optimist, because you look for solutions. ” It’s hard to be an optimist when you’re living in a nation with a crumbling infrastructure and a world on the brink of an energy crisis. But she sees those as opportunities for the nation’s new scientists and engineers to tackle. “Energy security,” she says, “is the space race of the new millennium. ” In the past, students who came to America from other countries to study science and engineering were more likely to stay and work here. But now, more international students are returning home after their studies, Jackson said.
She sees women and minorities in this country as an untapped talent pool, and supports programs that attract and retain them. Last year, President George W. Bush signed the America COMPETES Act, which pushes for more science and engineering education in schools and universities. But there was no funding set aside for the programs, and it will take strong leadership to make that happen, Jackson said. Cecilia Elmore is the director of the Women’s Leadership Institute at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. There, graduates are in high demand. Most of them are getting job offers within a few months of graduation, she said.
Just 23 percent of the student body is female, and the University of Science and Technology hopes to make that 30 percent in five years. The university works hard to fill the pipeline by hosting all types of outreach and enrichment programs for elementary and high school students, but there needs to be a greater cultural change, too, she said. “We need to have a TV show like ‘CSI,’ but for engineers,” Elmore said, half-jokingly. Jackson says the cultural shift can happen if the nation realizes the energy crisis is the next Sputnik, and if the nation’s leaders stand behind a new generation of scientists and engineers. We need to have a similar call to action,” she said. http://www. stltoday. com/stltoday/news/stories. nsf/education/story/8AD9F227D4F7470F8625 7464000B143D? OpenDocument 9 Bill Gates steps down as Microsoft Head Bill Gates, one of the foremost figures in technology, is stepping down as chief executive officer of Microsoft to concentrate on the philanthropic projects supported by his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and adderessing global problems that are ignored by governments and other organizations. Gate’s last day at Microsoft was June 27, 2008. He remains as non-executive hairman and advisor of Microsoft. Interviewed by the French magazine Challenges, he mentioned his point of view concerning engineers and capacities for ICT. Et comment trouvez-vous aujourd’hui les gens talentueux pour repondre a ces defis ? Les profils que nous recherchons sont tres varies, que ce soit en support client, en marketing ou en finance. Mais notre coeur de competence est evidemment dans la programmation informatique. C’est ce qui distingue Microsoft : nous sommes la plus grande entreprise de logiciels du monde, et nous prenons beaucoup de risques.
Nous avons ouvert un labo de recherche en Europe, a Cambridge, sur le campus de l’universite, et notre partenariat avec l’Inria, en France, nous permet de developper conjointement des projets. Nous avons affaire a des gens brillants avec lesquels le dialogue est excellent. Et au sein de l’entreprise ? Nous avons, bien sur, des chercheurs incroyables a Redmond, notre quartier general. Nous venons d’ouvrir un centre a Boston, nous en possedons un en Californie, et nous sommes egalement en Chine et en Inde.
Microsoft est implante dans toutes les grandes regions, et vient d’etre elu meilleur groupe de recherche ou il fait bon travailler. En attirant des gens intelligents, d’autres gens intelligents veulent travailler avec eux et nos equipes de recherche beneficient de cette dynamique. Nous avons ete les premiers a creer un vrai centre de recherche en Chine et en Inde. Vous avez mentionne Cambridge. Ou en sont vos relations avec les grandes universites : Nous voulons intensifier les relations avec les universites, nous souhaitons que les barrieres tombent.
C’est tres important pour nous, parce qu’une grande part de l’inventivite et des experiences se trouvent actuellement dans les plus grandes universites mondiales. Il faut que nous puissions les atteindre et travailler avec elles pour les aider a financer certaines choses et accueillir leurs etudiants dans nos laboratoires. Pres du quart des docteurs en sciences informatiques viennent passer du temps dans le laboratoire de recherche de Microsoft. Je suis surpris que d’autres entreprises n’en fassent pas autant. Comment gerez-vous le phenomene grandissant de la penurie d’ingenieurs ?
Dans beaucoup de pays, le nombre de personnes rejoignant les filieres scientifiques est en baisse : pratiquement tous les pays riches sont concernes. En Chine et en Inde, en revanche, ce chiffre est en augmentation. Ce qui signifie que ces etudiants, plus tard, lorsqu’ils chercheront un travail, seront tentes de bouger. Mais les politiques d’immigration sont de plus en plus restrictives. Donc, une partie de cette activite va se deplacer en Asie, la ou se situent les marches de demain. www. challenges. fr 10 Forthcoming Events
WFEO-JFES-JSCE Joint International Symposium on Disaster Risk Management: September 11, 2008, Tohoku University, Japan: The Annual Meeting Japan Society of Civil Engineers (JSCE) will feature the international programs focusing on current issues surrounding the civil engineering profession Perceiving the importance of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) under the climate change to address the UN Millennium Development Goals and to sustain the global prosperity, Science Council of Japan (SCJ) and Japan Federation of Engineering Societies (JFES), members of World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) had proposed establishing a task group on DRM and this proposal was accepted in WFEO General Assembly in November, 2007.
As a part of activities of the Task Group, the Symposium is held to showcase state-ofthe-art technologies, information and discuss measures to prevent, reduce and adapt to risks of water-related and earthquake disasters. WFEO roles and activities will also be introduced with its President’s participation. http://www. jsce-int. org Third Global Congress of Women in Politics and Governance, October 1922, 2008, Manila Philippines: Organised by the Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics (CAPWIP) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction (UN-ISDR) on Gender and Climate Change, the congress aims to: • Understand the phenomenon of climate change, its impacts and implications; • Review and examine the gender aspects of climate change and formulate appropriate actions to address such; • Define the roles women can play in ddressing the issues of climate change at the global, national and sub-national levels; and • Identify and define the action agenda for parliamentarians, policy advocates and women leaders to support global and national actions to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. http://www. capwip. org/ Water & Energy in Africa: From 21 to 24 October 2008, ADEA (Economic Development Agency toward Africa) organizes the 8th Eurafric-Partners Forum on Water & Energy in Africa at Lyon Congress Center (France). The program of this annual meeting of the European and African Small & Medium-Sized Businesses includes Conferences, Round Tables, Workshops, qualified meetings B to B, exhibition area,and visits of industrial sites.
The 8th edition will gather about 800 participants (companies & officials delegations) from over 30 countries from Africa and Europe. This year, the Guest Country will be the Republic of The Congo. Further information and registration at: www. eurafric. org International Disaster and Risk Conference IDRC Davos 2008: 25-29 August 2008, Davos, Switzerland: The event will address global problems and attract more than 1300 participants from 130 countries. The conference will take an integrated, multidisciplinary approach when addressing the different kinds of risks affecting society today, risks which might be far beyond any particular stakeholders’ capacity to control and that may adversely affect multiple parties across geographic borders, sectors and industries.
The IDRC organising committee anticipates a very successful and worthwhile conference and invites you to join this global gathering of leading experts from fields such as the natural, engineering and social sciences, government, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, NGOs and other risk management professions. http://www. idrc. info 11 Diverse News Global Monitoring Report 2008: This report, subtitled “MDGs and the Environment: Agenda for Inclusive and Sustainable Development,” provides a comprehensive assessment of progress toward the Millennium Development (MDGs) and related policies and actions. It addresses the challenge of climate change and environmental sustainability and assesses its implications for development.
The report’s assessment of MDGs at midpoint presents a mixed picture, one of both significant progress and formidable challenges. The first MDG, reducing extreme poverty by half, is likely to be met at the global level, thanks to a surge in global economic growth over the past decade. But, on current trends, the human development goals are unlikely to be met. Prospects are gravest for the goals of reducing child and maternal mortality, but shortfalls are also likely in the primary school completion, nutrition, and sanitation goals. The potential effects of climate change compound the challenge of achieving the development goals and sustaining progress.
The report’s messages are clear: urgent action is needed to help the world get back on track to achieve the MDGs; and urgent action is also needed to combat climate change that threatens the well-being of all countries, but particularly of poor countries and poor people. The goals of development and environmental sustainability are closely related, and the paths to those goals have important synergies http://publications. worldbank. org/ecommerce/catalog/product? item_id=8045372 New World bank Water Website: The website serves as the primary source of information on what the Bank is doing on water supply & sanitation, irrigation & drainage, water resources management, and hydropower.
The website includes operational information, data & statistics, publications, feature stories on projects and much more. Read more (“www. worldbank. org/water”) Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment WEEE: e-damage. Included under this heading are so-called “grey products” from office automation and IT equipment (screens, CPUs, keyboards, printers, etc. ). Bearing in mind that a billion computers are in use in the world in 2008, the total bill for e-waste (20 to 50 million tonnes in 2005) looks like it will be expensive. WEEE is rarely collected or recycled, but generally incinerated, giving off almost 36 tonnes of mercury and 16 tonnes of cadmium into the atmosphere (European Union report).
As if this were not enough, the Internet and its many servers represent an estimated 123 terawatt hours of electricity consumption in 2005, equal to the production of 15 nuclear power stations. Whilst revolutionising our life styles, the web is contributing to an energy bill of over € 5 billion a year. http://ec. europa. eu/research/research-eu/54/news_en. html#newentry3 South–South industrial centre opens in Egypt: Egypt has opened a US$10 million centre for transferring technology and promoting innovation-based industrial development among African countries. The South–South Industrial Cooperation Centre (SICC) was opened 1st July, 2008 to coincide with the 11th African Union Summit held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, between 30 June and 1 July.
The African Union, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry are funding the Cairo-based centre. SICC is part of a UNIDO scheme to establish South–South cooperation centres in countries that have highly developed technological or industrial capabilities to provide technical support to less advanced countries. The first centre opened in India in January 2007. A similar centre is to be set up in China, with further centres in Brazil, Iran and South Africa also envisioned. The aim of the centre is to promote South–South cooperation in science, manufacturing, technology and industrial innovation as well as providing assistance to African countries in their efforts to strengthen their scientific, technological and innovative capacities.
The centre is a direct action of the African Technology and Innovation Initiative (ATII) that African heads of state approved at the January 2008 African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The initiative will set up five African networks to develop skills and resources at all stages of the industrial manufacturing process, from product design through to certification of international standards and exports. “ATII aims at changing Africa, which accounts for only two per cent of global manufactured products, from natural resource-based economies towards manufacturing-based economies,” says Hany Barakat, head of technological development sector at the Ministry.
The new centre can be considered the first step towards the establishment of the African network of technology transfer and innovation centres that will serve the African continent. In the future, focal points or branches of SICC could be established in different African countries. An Arab network for technology tr ansfer and innovation promotion is also being set up. So far, seven countries — Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Tunisia — have joined. The network will help Arab companies improve quality and competitiveness by harnessing science and adopting new technologies, and provide professional training. www. sciedev. net 12