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WFEO-CEIT Webinar on Engineering in Poverty Alleviation held in celebration of World Engineering Day
Time: 2021-03-08 | Hits:

March 4, 2021, marks the second World Engineering Day, which, as its name readily suggests, draws public attention to the importance of engineering. On March 6, World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) held a webinar organized by China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research (IWHR) on “Engineering in Poverty Alleviation” to shed light on the linkage between engineering and poverty alleviation.

Dr. PENG Jing, Vice President of IWHR and Chair of WFEO Committee on Engineering for Innovative Technologies (CEIT), moderated the webinar. Professionals and experts from China and abroad talked about the concept, technologies and practices of how engineering contributes to poverty alleviation.

Mr. GONG Ke, President of WFEO and former President of Nankai University, opened the floor. As he noted, the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’s primary goal is ending poverty, to which China has contributed significantly with its strong campaigns on poverty alleviation.

President GONG called for fully leveraging the role of science and technology in eradicating poverty, enhancing engineering education and communications, and encouraging international exchanges and cooperation. Hopefully, engineering will continue to help the international fight against poverty.

LI Xin, Deputy Director-General of International Poverty Reduction Center in China, delivered a keynote speech on “China’s Targeted Poverty Alleviation-Practice and Experience”. By citing informative facts and figures, Ms. LI shed light on China’s successful campaign on poverty alleviation and its contribution to the international community. She also introduced China’s international cooperation in this field.


Questions addressed in China’s targeted poverty alleviation

Engr Umar B. Bindir, Ph.D., FAEng, FNSE, CEng, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development (FMHADMSD) of Nigeria, delivered a keynote speech on “poverty eradication in Africa and other developing countries”. Dr. Bindir suggested that Nigeria and other developing countries establish a “science - technology - engineering - innovation nexus” initiative. Under this initiative, research and development should center on problems and challenges of concern. Science knowledge and technologies should be aligned with engineering know-how, and the protection of intellectual property rights must be heeded. He called for translating scientific knowledge into sustainable productivity, which would help to eradicate poverty.

The science - technology - engineering - innovation nexus


Dr. Paolo Rocca, Associate Professor, Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science, University of Trento, Italy, gave a keynote speech on “Artificial Intelligence and Agriculture in Alleviating Poverty”. He introduced the outstanding application of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) in water-saving and efficiency enhancement in irrigation and precision dosing of agricultural chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, etc.).

Smart Farming Projects based on AI and IoT

Dato’ Ir. Dr. Lee Yee Cheong, Commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development and former President of WFEO, explored the nexus between SDG 1 -- ending poverty and SDG 5 -- gender equality for the developing world.

Dr. NIE Fengying, Deputy Director-General, Agricultural Information Institute (AII), Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), introduced sustainable poverty reduction explorations in China and other countries.

Ms. Yetunde Holloway, Chair of WFEO Committee on Women in Engineering (WIE), also touched upon poverty reduction and gender equality.

Mr. Pradeep Chaturvedi, Vice President, World Environment Foundation, shared cases from India concerning engineering interventions for poverty alleviation.

Dr. CHEN He from the Department of Irrigation and Drainage of IWHR, introduced the linkage between water issues and poverty and how water engineering has contributed enormously to poverty reduction in China.


Water engineering is irreplaceable to poverty alleviation


Participants responded to the speeches with thought-provoking questions. Speakers and participants further discussed issues including influencing the policymakers, motivating the private sector, and encouraging more women involvement. They also explored the possibility for other parts of the world to replicate China’s success in poverty reduction and the roadmap for the Nigerian-proposed “science-technology-engineering-innovation nexus”, etc.



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