Cat VII – Seminar and training
CRIDA Webinar "Resilience to flooding in the urban context: The case of Guayaquil, Ecuador"
UNESCO signs agreement with Ghana for new International Centre of Excellence in Engineering, Innovation, Manufacturing and Technology Transfer
On 7 April UNESCO formally endorsed the establishment under its auspices of the International Centre of Excellence in Engineering Innovation Manufacturing and Technology Transfer in Ghana The tripartite agreement was signed by UNESCO DirectorGeneral Audrey Azoulay Her Excellency Ms Anna Bossman Ambassador of Ghana to UNESCO and Prof Ellis OwusuDabo ProVice Chancellor of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology KNUST
Cat VII – Seminar and training
CRIDA Webinar "Incorporating climate risks into integrated water resources management in the Guayubín River Basin, Dominican Republic"
Launch of the Italian translation of the UN World Water Development Report 2022
The translation of the United Nations World Water Development Report 2022 in Italian was presented on 22 March on occasion of World Water Day
One in five countries has received technical assistance from UNESCO since 2018 in managing their ‘blue gold’
An overview of the work of UNESCOs Intergovernmental Hydrological Programme over the past 5 years
All-girl team from the Philippines wins Sustainable Engineering Hackathon on UNESCO’s World Engineering Day
An allgirl team of university students from the Philippines has won a hackathon marking UNESCOs World Engineering for Sustainable Development Day on 4 March Ghia Luwalhati Nicole Elizabeth Tan and Reaner Jacqueline Bool from the WONDERPETS team 1 from Batangas State University in the Philippines used Metal Organic Frameworks which are novel adsorbents to turn recycled plastic bottles into a type of sponge that is extremely porous making it an effective means of removing pollutants from water Better still the sponge can be used again and again
UNESCO in Brazil celebrates World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development
In November 2019 UNESCOs General Conference proclaimed the 4 March World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life which is essential to mitigate the impact of climate change and advance sustainable development
Young engineers to embark on a hackathon to tackle non-biodegradable waste
Three million tonnes of ewaste were generated in Africa in 2019 but only 09 was collected and recycled The new Ewaste recycling facility in Rwanda the secondbiggest in Africa can process more than 7 000 tonnes of electrical and electronic waste each year PHOTO CC BYND 20 World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development is being celebrated for the third time on 4 March A highlight this year will be a marathon hackathon during which teams of engineering students from universities around the world will compete over a 24hour period to find the most ingenious solution to a simulated problem The virtual hackathon is being hosted by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and has been devised by a range of partners that include UNESCO the International Engineering Alliance and Engineers Without Borders The best solutions will be showcased during a live streaming event The teams of engineering students will be able to choose between three challenges Either they can opt to find a solution to a given problem that involves biomimicry imitating nature or they can take up the gauntlet of designing a climateresilient water management system or alternatively an innovative responsible way of using or limiting nonbiodegradable waste Lets take a closer look at the third challenge Plastics could account for 20 of oil consumption by 2050 The huge volume of nonbiodegradable waste accumulating around the world poses a real challenge for sustainability For instance less than 10 of plastic waste is currently recycled According to calculations by the World Economic Forum in 2016 plastic particles could outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050 Since plastics are derived from oil and longterm prospects for oil production are being threatened by the growing affordability of renewables oil companies are stepping up the production of synthetics Plastics now make up twothirds of demand for oil in the petrochemical sector and all of the growth in demand for oil according to a 2020 study by Bond et al entitled The Futures not in Plastics Why Plastics Demand wont Rescue the Oil Sector the authors estimate that at current growth rates plastic production could account for 20 of global oil consumption by 2050 Despite the urgency of identifying alternatives there were just 1 111 scientific articles on ecological alternatives to plastics in 2019 according to an original study published in the UNESCO Science Report 2021 The top ten countries for volume between 2016 and 2019 accounted for more than twothirds 69 of academic papers on this topic In descending order they were China 442 papers USA 328 India 272 Italy 234 Brazil 206 Spain 184 Indonesia 155 Thailand 145 Japan 143 and Germany 141 Rwanda opens Africas secondlargest ewaste recycling facility One of the fastestgrowing streams of nonbiodegradable waste is electronic waste Globally 54 million metric tonnes of ewaste from computers mobile phones and the like were discarded in 2019 according to the Global Ewaste Monitor 2020 an increase of almost 21 over 2014 Of this only 17 was collected and recycled In Africa the collection and recycling rate was less than 1 The continent imports large quantities of ewaste and in 2019 produced three million metric tonnes of its own In 2017 Rwanda launched the secondlargest ewaste recycling facility in Africa with support from the Rwanda Green Fund As the UNESCO Science Report 2021 recounts the new facility should reduce the widespread practice of informal recycling and burning of ewaste which place people at great risk The facility creates a circular economy with refurbished computers being sold or donated to schools steel turned into steel bars for construction purposes and plastic crushed into pellets for reuse The facility is undertaking a feasibility study with support from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the European Union in the hope of expanding to become the first lithium battery recycling facility in Africa The Rwandan facility may inspire others to do the same During Engineering Week in September 2017 a group of experts from across the continent visited the Rwandan facility to learn how it operates as part of a UNESCO conference on electronic waste management Leading the group was facility manager Olivier Mbera from the Rwandan Ministry of Trade and Industry Ewaste a growing phenomenon in Africa The volume of electronic waste is expected to swell to 75 million metric tonnes by 2030 Africa will be no exception as its digital economy develops Research carried out by the Groupe Spécial Mobile shows that tech incubators and accelerators in Africa are increasingly targeting tech and digital entrepreneurs The number of these hubs surged from 314 to 744 between 2016 and 2020 About onequarter are classified as coworking spaces or makerspaces where the use of 3D printers drones and other digital technologies is commonplace In October 2020 the World Health Organization reported that Africa accounted for about 13 of new or adapted technologies designed to tackle the Covid19 pandemic more than half of these inventions concerned digital technologies Upstream at the policy level many African countries have adopted national digital strategies according to the UNESCO Science Report 2021 Examples are Rwandas ICT in Education Policy 2016 the Digital Cameroon 2020 Strategic Plan 2017 Ugandas National 4IR Strategy 2020 and the Digital Morocco 2020 strategy 2016 In October 2019 the Nigerian government created the Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy to reflect its commitment to embarking on a largescale digital literacy programme to make Nigeria a regional hub for software engineers and services The Southern African Development Community SADC which groups 16 countries has adopted a SADC Digital 2027 strategy However only 13 African countries have adopted ewaste policies or related legislation according to the Global EWaste Monitor 2020 including Rwanda These countries are among the 78 in the world to have done so In December 2018 UNESCO and Morocco hosted the first African forum on artificial intelligence AI This is being followed by a series of subregional fora The first of these subregional fora will cover East Africa and take place in Kenya from 2 to 4 March 2022 Between 2015 and 2019 the number of publications produced by scientists south of the Sahara on the subject of AI and robotics almost doubled from 823 to 1539 according to the UNESCO Science Report 2021 By 2019 the subcontinent was contributing 1 of global output in this field A surge in research on ewaste management in subSaharan Africa Despite the need to green our current approaches to industrial waste management this field of research is attracting much less attention than AI and robotics observes the UNESCO Science Report 2021 The global scientific community produced 147806 papers on AI and robotics in 2019 almost ten times the number on ecological approaches to industrial waste management 15881 Although scientists from subSaharan Africa produced just 33 of global output on ecological approaches to industrial waste management in 2019 524 papers growth in subSaharan Africa 245 between 2015 and 2019 was triple the pace at the global level 67 The bulk of subSaharan research on ecological approaches to industrial waste management stems from Nigeria 85 publications over 20122015 and 209 over 20162019 and South Africa 77213 However growth has been strongest in Ethiopia 437 93 which now produces more papers on this topic than Ghana 1325 The subcontinents secondfastest growth rate goes to Mauritius 35 followed by Cameroon and Mozambique 30 South Africa 28 and the trio made up of Nigeria Uganda and Zimbabwe 25 As for Rwandan scientists they produced four publications on this topic between 2012 and 2019 Read more Are we using science for smarter development Original study released as chapter 2 in the UNESCO Science Report 2021 How engineering can make the SDGs happen excerpt from the UNESCO Engineering Report 2021 World Engineering Day