The Role of Electronics Engineers – Their Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (by Electronics Division)

In 2015, a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), consisting of 17 goals and 169 targets, was adopted by all 193 member states of the United Nations. Their aim was to achieve a more prosperous, inclusive and peaceful world by 2030. But to forge such a future, every global citizen, including governments, businesses, civil society and the general public will have to contribute.

Engineers have long been playing their part in making meaningful contributions to these SDGs. For example, engineers have been developing extraordinary innovations, such as big data and Artificial Intelligence (AI), that are shaping our world and helping to address the many pressing challenges that are facing us today.

Robotics, computer vision and AI are already revolutionising medical diagnosis, detection and surgical procedures, and improving accessibility to health care for low-income countries. While advanced technology and telecommunications are closing the digital divide between rich and poor and extending the reach of medical services in rural areas.

Mobile online medical applications are bringing unimagined changes to the medical industry and benefitting villagers in remote areas with on-demand health consultations. At the same time, the development of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is empowering a new future for healthcare with improvements in hospital and pharmaceutical processes and better diagnoses. These are all helping to raise our quality of life in line with SDG Goal 3 – to improve Good Health and Well-being.

Engineers are also improving the delivery of education by developing online learning tools and expanding rapid communication services to remote and low-income communities across the globe through affordable satellites and other aerial devices. These improve accessibility to all levels of education, reduce costs for students, ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and ultimately promote social mobility.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak, online learning has been vastly extended to enable safe learning at home. In fact, in many cases online learning is even more effective than traditional learning methods as it offers students the chance to enjoy customised learning experiences with the flexibility to set their own learning pace. This follows SDG Goal 4 – to provide Quality Education for all.

In fact, by extending good health and well-being, as well as quality education to rural areas and low-income communities, engineers are empowering and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. This addresses SDG goal 10 – Reduced Inequality.

In addition to the examples above, engineers are also playing a significant role in building up smart cities with everything from safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, to smart grids, and district energy and waste management solutions. Smart city development improves our quality of life, and transforms our living conditions to be more environmentally friendly, more inclusive and accessible, as well as more intelligent. This help to answer SDG Goal 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities.

The above examples illustrate only some of the success stories that engineers are delivering around the globe to make the 2030 United Nations Agenda a reality. In fact, engineers are continually driving sustainable socio-economic development through sustainable infrastructure and new technologies and innovations.

As engineers, we are committed to a sense of global responsibility and playing a critical role in achieving each of the United Nations 17 SDGs through our professional knowledge and innovative ideas.

By Ms Mandy HO from the Electronics Division of the HKIE

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