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UNESCO Focus Group to Meet at AAAS
Mobilizing Engineers to Help Eradicate Poverty
Lydia Brito, Minister for Science and Technology in Mozambique, joins George Bugliarello of the National Academy of Engineering to help formulate a strategy for increased participation by the engineering and technology communities to overcome poverty. The two-day meeting will take place 22 - 23 March 2004 at AAAS, the science society.
According to UNESCO, poverty is often thought of economically, but the term also expresses the limited access poor people have to knowledge that addresses their basic human needs and promotes sustainable livelihoods. Technology could improve some of these needs, such as: water supply and sanitation, food production and processing, housing, energy, transportation, communication, income generation and employment creation.
"The AAAS is excited to host this UNESCO Focus Group which emphasizes how science and technology can eradicate poverty," said Shirley Malcom, director of Education and Human Resources at AAAS. "Poverty is one of the most important issues scientists face, where they can constructively serve society."
Engineering communities need to consider that for technology to be successful and sustainable, for example, computer labs should be built in areas with access to electricity. UNESCO states that by failing to address these needs, poor people continue to be marginalized, alienated, and excluded socially. Secure economic, social and human development must exist for poverty eradication policies and activities to be effective.
"The overall challenge is to put people more closely in touch with technology that can help eradicate their own poverty," noted Tony Marjoram of UNESCO in the background to the Focus. "Technology empowers the poor and access to knowledge and technology should therefore be considered a central component of poverty eradication."
More than 50 policy-makers and specialists in engineering and technology will meet to address these issues. This Focus Group is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS, the Science Society), the American Association of Engineering Societies (AAES) and the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO).
18 March 2004
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