The Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) has launched the 29th IEK International Convention where discussions will revolve around a sustainable engineering profession in the era of rapid climate change.
The convention, which shall be attended by international and local engineers and engineering students among other professionals, kicks off on 21st to 25th November 2022 in Diani, Kwale County.
The goal of the convention is to come up with resolutions that can be implemented in the context of engineering practice, policy, education or research to mitigate the negative impact of climate change locally and globally.
Speaking in Nairobi Monday during the convention launch, Cabinet Secretary for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Alice Wahome said Engineers play an integral role in shaping our interaction with the world.
The CS said climate change remains a global risk to future generations adding the theme of this year’s convention ‘sustainable engineering in the era of climate change,’ is timely coming at the time the world has converged in Sharm ElSheikh, Egypt for Africa COP27 United Nations Climate Change Summit.
She said the delegates at COP27 are expected come to take action towards achieving the world’s collective climate goals as agreed under the Paris Agreement and Convention.
“The decisions we make on a day-to-day basis through our work can have a range of environmental, social and economic impacts. This is why these conversations are important,” said Wahome, who was also the chief guest at the launch.
She noted that climate change is currently one of the greatest threats to the world’s development agenda adding that activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation have caused huge amounts of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere.
The CS noted that this year’s convention will bring together over 3000 engineering practitioners to chart a way forward to engineering sustainability, and urged all engineers to take advantage of the opportunity and attend physically.
Wahome assured that her Ministry will continue to work together with key sector players “to ensure that we collectively put in place measures that will help mitigate this issue of sustainability in the long term.”
The convention shall also host other sub events namely: 5th Women Engineers summit titled “360° Women Engineers: A Catalyst for Change,” 1st Future Leaders Summit titled “Back to Basics” and a side event for Men Engineering Summit titled: “Reinvention towards a Sustainable Future” which are all scheduled as parallel events.
In his remarks, IEK President Eng. Erick Ohaga said another 4,000 delegates are expected to attend the convention virtually.
“Our target is to have over 3000 voices in the practice to participate either physically or virtually and collectively come up with resolutions that we can all apply in our everyday engineering practice to safeguard future generations,” said Eng. Ohaga.
He said sustainable engineering is all about designing and operating daily systems in such a way that the energy and resources that they use are sustainable – that is, they are used at a rate that doesn’t compromise the natural environment and its ability to be used by future generations to meet their own needs.
Eng. Ohaga explained: “Sustainable engineering impacts every single aspect of our daily lives, from the water that runs through our taps to the process of removing and breaking down the rubbish thrown in the dust bin.”
He highlighted that there are many opportunities for engineers to contribute to climate change solutions in fields such as sustainability, climate resilience, climate risk, climate finance, climate justice, climate hazards and climate change laws.
The sub-themes that will be delved into at the week-long convention include; building resilient infrastructure, harnessing emerging technologies for sustainable development, Innovation, Mitigation measures against climate change, climate adaption, climate change impact and engineering, artificial intelligence, energy transition, role of nuclear and renewable energy in combating climate change as well as the role of green financing and green economy.
By Catherine Muindi and Irene Mwende