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by Maximilla Wafula

The Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK) has today launched the 29th IEK International Convention where discussions will revolve around a sustainable engineering profession in the era of rapid climate change. The Convention kicks off on 21st to 25th November 2022 in Diani, Kwale County with a rich menu of discussions and breakaway sessions centering on the big elephant in the room; climate change.

The goal of the convention is thus 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.
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.

Engineers play an integral role in shaping our interaction with the world. 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 this conversations are important,” said Hon. Alice Wahome, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, who was also the Chief Guest at the launch of the Convention.

Climate change is currently one of the greatest threats to the world’s development agenda. Activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation have caused huge amounts of greenhouse gases to be released into the atmosphere.
Some of the catastrophic consequences of climate change include global warming, air pollution, more severe floods and storms, heatwaves, droughts and a rise in sea level which can cause destructive erosion and wetland flooding. This then causes further health issues, water resources management issues and a high demand for water and energy.

This year’s Convention will thus bring together over 3000 engineering practitioners to chart a way forward to engineering sustainability.
The convention shall 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 Side event for Men Engineering Summit titled “Reinvention towards a Sustainable Future“ which are all scheduled as parallel events. The convention shall be attended by international and local engineers, student engineers among other professionals.

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 IEK President Eng. Erick Ohaga during the launch of the convention.
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 you throw in your bin. Sustainable engineering is crucial to ensuring that life continues with ease for many generations to come. 
Engineering forms an interface between the design (i.e., the idea how to provide a sustainable solution to a technical problem) and implementation and production. Sustainable engineering focuses on developing enduring systems in food production and preservation; housing and shelter, waste disposal and management; pollution reduction; water supplies; energy development and consumption; transportation; restoring natural resource environments and improvements in industrial processes.

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 law.
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 & 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.
IEK and its members will continue to uphold standards and adapt to mitigative measures to evade the adverse effects of climate change for generational sustainability.
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