The objective of this initiative is to prepare a white paper that provides an overview of the contribution of engineering to the effort to achieve the water-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030 and discuss what more they should be doing, including expanding their horizons beyond the confines of their traditional engineering education and the importance of embracing a human rights-based approach. In addition, it explores how the modern paradigm of engineering, which inherently integrates nature-based approaches, contributes and enables national stakeholders to achieve the SDG’s through gender-responsive, human rights-based approaches.
This initiative grew out of the discussion in an open space session proposed by the International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR) during the 32nd UN-Water meeting on 29 January 2020 in Rome.
This initiative is expected to help raise awareness about the role of engineers in helping achieve the water-related SDGs, it also aims at helping engineers overcome the tendency (common in the past) to operate in their own world developing technical solutions that sometimes did not take into consideration the views and concerns of all stakeholders. In this problem-oriented approach, it is important that engineers engage in a dialog with the communities they serve and be responsive by adapting their designs to their needs. The dialogue with communities can be facilitated by international organizations or humanitarian agencies, which should step up for a more fruitful engagement with the engineers, having already the knowledge of what is needed at the field level. Mechanisms should be in place to ensure the voice and agency of women to contribute to and be consulted in such community dialogues. Engineers will only be able to contribute meaningfully to the achievement of SDG 6 if they employ a human rights-based approach.