November 26, 2007

Engineers Canada to head global environment committee

Engineers Canada will chair the World Federation of Engineering Organizations' (WFEO) Committee on Engineering and the Environment for the next four-year term. The position, accepted during the World Congress on Urban Infrastructure in Developing Countries, held earlier this month in New Delhi, India, will give Canada's engineering profession an important opportunity to showcase its expertise on the world stage.

Founded in 1968, the WFEO is a non-governmental umbrella group for the national engineering organizations of more than 90 nations; these organizations together represent some 15 million engineers around the world. Its Committee on Engineering and the Environment, one of six standing committees, is focused on developing, through appropriate activities and education, a worldwide understanding and commitment to sustainable development.

"During our four-year term, we plan to address the environmental challenges facing our societies," said Darrel John Danyluk, a past president of Engineers Canada and head of the committee. "Working in international teams, we will identify and enhance themes such as the causes of climate change and the need to mitigate through better technologies; adaptation measures to ensure the proper operation of vital infrastructure; air pollution in third world countries; and sustainable water and wastewater infrastructure in the developing world."

While chairing the committee will put the engineering group in a position to exert a positive influence on international practices, it will also benefit Canada. "Climate change is a global issue, and chairing the Committee puts Engineers Canada in a strong position to provide its constituent members with information on how environmental issues are being addressed in countries around the world," said Tony Dawe, Engineers Canada's current president. "This will help our members in their ongoing discussions with provincial and territorial legislators."

Danyluk, who has 35 years of engineering experience, is technical advisor to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy on adaptation requirements of infrastructure. He also heads Engineers Canada's Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee and is co-chair for this committee's 2008 climate change adaptation workshop.

The Vulnerability Committee is a national steering committee involving participation by all three levels of government and non-governmental organizations. It is looking broadly and systematically at infrastructure vulnerability to climate change from an engineering perspective. Chairing the WFEO's Engineering and the Environment committee will particularly benefit the Vulnerability Committee by exposing it to international expertise which will introduce the most appropriate engineering approaches for consideration in adapting Canadian infrastructure to the changing climate.

The WFEO approached Engineers Canada earlier this year, to find out if the group would be interested in chairing the Engineering and the Environment committee for a four-year term ending in 2011. Engineers Canada's board of directors gave its support to pursuing the position of committee chair, and TD Meloche Monnex, which has partnered with Engineers Canada for over 50 years to provide home and auto insurance for Canada's professional engineers, agreed to financially support the project.

Engineers Canada (the business name of the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers) is the national organization of the 12 provincial and territorial associations that regulate the practice of engineering in Canada and license the country's more than 160,000 professional engineers. More information is available from Marc Bourgeois at Engineers Canada, 613/232-2474, ext 238, E-mail, Web site

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