There are pressing short-term imperatives, which dominate our thoughts and actions, and there are long-term adaptations we need to make to protect our own futures together with the inheritance we leave for generations to come. By their very nature short-term imperatives take precedence over long-term adaptations.
Examples of short-term imperatives that impact on civil engineering are that each ruling party does its utmost to retain support for the next election, in part through new capital works rather than through the management of existing immovable assets; each annual budget must balance, even at the expense of fixed investment or by creating future liabilities; money is borrowed for current consumptive expenditure, thereby limiting funds for fixed investment; we must get work or sell products to keep our businesses running; we must educate our children to be able to compete in an increasingly global economy; and we must grow the economy to meet current as well as future needs.
Some factors have remained consistent in South Africa, however, and indeed elsewhere, over the 110 years of SAICE’s existence. Three such factors are considered in this address, namely:
Long-term adaptations, requiring behavioural and attitudinal changes, are necessary to address these factors.
Much has been written and is being written about the short-term imperatives that South Africa faces, such as skills shortages and labour surplus, poor basic education, inadequate service delivery, shortcomings in public health, corruption, difficulty of cost recovery and wasteful expenditure. challenges regarding procurement, and staffing of public bodies. While I would like to remark on these matters, I shall refrain from doing so, wishing rather to give attention to the less documented need for long-term adaptations.
Nevertheless, as we are in the now, and not in the future, I shall return to important short-term imperatives affecting civil engineering later in this address. The acid test will be our ability to give attention to the long-term adaptations while we are grappling with the short-term imperatives.
There are differing views as to whether or not long-term adaptations are critical, other than to reduce the carbon footprint, to ‘green’ our designs and structures, and to modify the manner in which we work – in short sustainability. To my mind we need to go further to address underlying causes.
I invite you to join me in reflecting upon some pertinent matters, which civil engineering practitioners should take into account currently as well as in decades to come.
Let us now return to the three long-term adaptations that will be required to address environmental change, globalisation and increase in consumption.
Environmental change has impacted on much of our planet in forms such as deforestation, reduction in fauna and flora, habitat deterioration, pollution and the depletion or extinction of species. These are the consequences, many of them unintended, of at least the following three sub-factors, all of which engineers have influenced and can influence in future:
Environmentalists and demographers increasingly warn of the dire consequences of population growth and the adverse effects that it is having not only on present generations, but more particularly on the decline of essential biodiversity, environmental degradation and deterioration in the quality of life of future generations.
Statistics are hotly debated and are subject to differing views, definitions and interpretation. Consequently, the figures used in this text serve to illustrate the magnitude of the issues we face.
Around a third of the world’s population is reported to live in poverty (more than two billion people). In Africa the number of people living in poverty is thought to be around three hundred million. The unemployment rate (the percentage of the labour force that is without jobs) is said to vary from some 95% (Zimbabwe) to 0% (Monaco) (indexmundi.com).
The 2011 South African census results (Census 2011) indicates that the population growth rate has declined from the widely accepted value of around 2.4% per annum that we used in the 1980s to 1.45% per annum between 2001 and 2011. In spite of this, we still have an unemployment rate of some 25% overall and possibly as much as 50% amongst the youth.
The 2011 census age profile, coupled with objectives of the National Development Plan, indicate that the age group 0 to 5 years is notably larger than the age groups 5 to 9 and 10 to 14. This could indicate that the decline in the population growth rate might be slowing, and if the mortality rate reduces (which is an objective of the National Development Plan 2030), or migration into the country increases (which the National Development Plan recognises), the decline in the population growth rate could reverse.
Unemployment is a global phenomenon, which. This state of affairs might indicate that the global economy is unable to provide employment for the world’s population.
The bulk of the population increase going forward will compound the existing challenges. A lower, or preferably negative, population growth is necessary in our own self-interest, as well as to reduce environmental impact, demand and resource depletion. This is a long-term and intractable process with many attitudinal, cultural and religious hindrances.
There is a school of thought that a smaller, ageing population is not sustainable, due in part to insufficient young people to drive the economy and to support the older members of society. This is not necessarily the case. For many generations to come there will be ‘surplus’ young people in many countries who would naturally migrate to the ageing populations where greater opportunities exist. Migration of people to places of greater opportunity than their birthplaces has occurred throughout recorded history.
Furthermore, by utilising the asset of trained persons longer, the requirement for post-retirement funding (pensions, shelter and health care) is reduced. For example, tThe burden on younger people can be relieved through the manner in which post-retirement funding is structured. Defined contribution rather than defined benefit pension arrangements is an example.
A young population tends to attract a ‘liability’ requiring investment funds for many decades before individuals become ‘assets’. A narrowing in the population pyramid is likely to be more beneficial than deleterious as a result of a reduced liability and longer use of a society’s human capital assets.
We need to actively promote and support appropriate initiatives to attain a continuous reduction in the population growth rate. Such interventions are in the interest of both current and future generations, but they will not address the short-term imperatives facing the existing population.
Civil engineering by its very name focuses on utilising natural resources to the benefit of the populace. Over the course of time measures have been put in place to reduce the impact of such utilisation on the environment in which the engineering works occur. More recently attention is being given to reducing the impact of the works on the planet (greening). What has not received attention is reducing the need for the engineering works at all.
Most of us became civil engineering practitioners due to the lure and satisfaction of creating immovable assets in one form or another. A limited survey that SAICE’s Young Members Panel undertook amongst students last year indicates that the next generation of civil engineering practitioners has the same aspirations.
The clamour for new works to satisfy the existing and burgeoning population has enabled us to fulfil our aspirations. On the other hand, this is being achieved at the expense of future generations. Also, each new immovable asset creates a life-long liability.
A case can be made, therefore, that the demand for immovable assets should be reduced. The consequence of such an approach is that, at the outset of any civil engineering project, the question should be asked as to whether or not the immovable asset is really necessary. Only if the answer is truly positive should a project proceed in the most environmentally effective manner.
We have become accustomed to the term ‘demand management’. However, the term ‘demand reduction’ is probably more apt, as it signifies not only sound management, but also measures to actively reduce the need for and provision of a service or a commodity, including immovable assets.
Demand reduction is a concept that works directly against our own self-interest. Consequently, the thought of actively campaigning to reduce the construction of immovable assets would be difficult to accept. Also, demand reduction flies in the face of the current drive to create employment, much of which through the construction of immovable assets.
A further implication of reducing the demand for new works is that existing immovable assets would need to function efficiently and effectively for as long as possible. This requires on-going sound management, operation, maintenance, refurbishment, disposal and replacement (asset management).
Many of our colleagues actively campaign for infrastructure asset management. particularly through the Institute of Municipal Engineering of Southern Africa (IMESA).
SAICE’s President for 2001, Kevin Wall, has proposed that SAICE should institute an award for outstanding achievement in the process of infrastructure asset management in order to further raise awareness of the necessity for asset management. The award will be introduced this year.
In spite of our short-term self-interest, civil engineering needs to take a leading role in advocating, as well as in practising, demand reduction.
Our current resource utilisation can be viewed as a ‘resource ponzi’. A ponzi is an illegal practice in which returns are paid to investors from their own funds or from funds of future investors.
A resource ponzi would be one in which we are robbing ourselves and future generations of resources and the quality of our living environment. This is being done without sanction to satisfy the needs of the current population, together with the excesses of the more affluent members of society.
Compound increase eventually leads to the collapse of ponzis. The exponential nature of our past, current and planned resource utilisation shows the same tendency.
Several major environmental conferences have failed to come to grips with the issue, seemingly because the short-term needs are so great that it is politically and socially inexpedient to have policies aimed at addressing the root cause of long-term risks, namely unbridled population growth coupled with increasing consumption. Instead, policies are aimed at measures to support existing population and consumption, without any requirement or advocacy or responsibility to kerb population growth or consumption. Hence, well-intended policies make it very difficult to address pressing matters, while threatening the living environment of all species on our planet.
A school of thought holds that we would be able to address issues when they arise due to advances in technology. This might be so, but the question begs itself – is such an approach desirable, and do we have the right to gamble with the living environment of future generations to satisfy short-term imperatives? History shows that we have done and are doing that in South Africa. (for example environmental deterioration due to mining in spite of the application of technology). We, together with future generations, will have to carry the consequences.
Civil engineering practitioners are honour-bound to limit, or preferably reduce, resource degradation and depletion in the planning we undertake and in the works we engineer.
Civil engineering practitioners were significantly shielded from outside competition during the period that South Africa was ‘isolated’. Now we are subject to globalisation and greater competition from outside of the country. This competition can be expected to become more intense. On the other hand, greater opportunities are available outside the country.
The nation has been called upon from time to time over more than half a century to improve productivity, but there has been little active promotion during the past two decades. The percentage increase in output due to a unit percentage increase in labour input has fallen from 0.74 in the 1980s to -0.08 in the 2000s (Sharp 2011). That being the case, there is little benefit in organisations employing more people. Another result is that South Africa’s competitiveness was ranked 50th out of 59 countries in 2012 (IMD 2012).
A consequence of the decline in productivity and low competitiveness is the importation of less expensive goods, particularly from Eastern countries, with the loss of employment for South Africans. We are all inclined to buy at the lowest price, irrespective of the source of the item/service being purchased. The civil engineering industry is not immune. Importation works against addressing the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality that face the country.
Currently iIn South Africa and elsewhere a short-term imperative is for work to be created because of high unemployment and poverty, particularly amongst the youth. There is an inclination to create work because of the need, whether or not such work would be required in a highly efficient, globally competitive environment.
Employment creation initiatives have been used intermittently in South Africa over the past century, with mixed success. It is doubtful that the creation of employment for the sake of having to create employment is sustainable over the long term.
Experienced professionals have left South Africa since the early 1900s. Initially they were people who returned to their countries of origin, as well as those who sought opportunities in countries outside of South Africa, including in Africa. The process accelerated in the 1970s and continues till today, due to matters such as concerns about the future, safety and education; prejudice; political views; and global opportunities. Consequently, skills that were developed at great cost to the country have been and are being prematurely lost. Civil engineering will have to be world-class and competitive if we are to protect our home markets, be able to participate internationally and retain scarce skills.
Increase in consumption
While close to half of the world’s population is impoverished, much of the remaining half consumes far more than is necessary. Environmentalists have coined the term ‘affluenza’ to illustrate the ‘illness’ of the wealthier component of our society indulging in unnecessary and at times wasteful or even conspicuous consumption.
An example of an unintended outcome of consumption is the increasing generation of waste with its major negative impact on the natural and built environments. Neither civil engineering nor other waste management disciplines have been able to address the matter adequately. It is saddening to see our sidewalks and open spaces, as well as what should be pristine beaches and natural areas, littered with waste – a ubiquitous occurrence. Society is leaving a reduced quality of environment for itself and for future generations.
A further unintended outcome of unnecessary consumption is the deterioration of much natural biodiversity. Several hundred species (more than ten times natural attrition) become extinct each year as a result of the increase and actions of a single species – humankind. Future generations are being deprived of biodiversity due to population pressure on and resource depletion of the natural environment.
Prominent environmentalists exhort the general populace to refrain from consumptive behaviour and from buying unnecessary goods. Certain utility operators join the plea by calling upon customers to use the utilities sparingly. The voices are muted, however, compared with the media advising consumers to buy and consume more, much of which is not necessary.
As a society we follow the media and tend to indoctrinate the next generation in a culture of consumerism. Similarly, when economies do not grow through exports (which in essence is merely supporting consumption in another country), policy-makers tend to stimulate their local economies through local consumption in order to address short-term imperatives. Unnecessary consumption is having a devastating impact on our natural resources.
Reduction in unnecessary consumption is in essence demand reduction with the same benefits and dis-benefits that apply to immovable assets.
Demand reduction in the case of consumption would require significant behavioural change which is diametrically opposite to our own desires and the messages portrayed through the media. Much effort will therefore be necessary to discourage unnecessary consumption.
In spite of our short-term self-interest, we need to play a role in advocating, as well as in practising, a reduction in unnecessary and wasteful consumption.
THE ROLE OF CIVIL ENGINEERING IN ADDRESSING SHORT-TERM IMPERATIVES AND LONG-TERM ADAPTATIONS
I am extremely proud of being an engineer and in being able to contribute in a small way to society. I have become increasingly concerned, however, about unintended outcomes of us practising our chosen profession.
Engineering, particularly civil engineering, has done very much to benefit humankind over the centuries and to increase standards of living. Indeed, we pride ourselves on applying the skill, art and science of our calling to the benefit of humankind and to adapting nature to that end. The unintended outcome of our endeavours is that we have played a major role in enabling unbridled population growth, increasing demand and resource degradation/depletion to occur.
In common with the rest of society, civil engineering also has short-term imperatives to which we must give attention, and long-term adaptations we shall have to make. There will be divergent views as to what these should be. From my experience the ones set out below are important.
At the beginning of this address I indicated that, although the text looks mainly to the future, I shall return to short-term imperatives that are important in respect of civil engineering, as we are living in the now and not in the future.
Due to the great needs of communities (particularly those who are poor or impoverished), the environmental damage that is being done as a result of inadequacies in municipal infrastructure and in service delivery, coupled with social expenditure and the narrow tax base, the single most important imperative is to obtain value for money. Consequently, tThere is no place for corruption, nepotism and incompetence, while we need to ensure that capital works are well planned, engineered, constructed and managed. Every Rand spent unnecessarily on questionable immovable assets is a Rand less for other imperative interventions.
A decline in population growth rates and a change in behaviour regarding consumption will take many decades to come about. Meanwhile the population will require the civil engineering services and products that we traditionally provide. We shall need to approach all projects from the perspective of sustainability – that is the capacity of an eco-system to endure.
The imperative of service delivery is being hampered by institutional shortcomings, particularly in public bodies. Many of the issues relate to management and skills. National Treasury is endeavouring to rectify the matter in respect of financial management through requirements that incumbents of positions should be appropriately qualified and experienced. The same needs to be done for engineering and other built environment professions.
A disturbing aspect of current public body institutional arrangements is the over-riding influence of the human resources function in the selection and appointment of professional and skilled engineering staff. In certain instances, the performance criteria of the technical departments and those of the human resources function do not align, resulting in delays in appointments, suitable candidates being rejected, inappropriate candidates being selected or no appointments being made at all. Civil engineering needs to assist public bodies to have positions filled by the best available skilled persons.
It is ironic that in a country that is short of skills there are many civil engineering practitioners, and indeed other professionals, who are unemployed, underemployed or utilised on much unproductive work to meet procurement requirements. For too long our country has not used all the available skilled human resources. This state of affairs must be corrected in the interests of the country. Civil engineering needs optimum utilisation of our scarce skilled people to be attained.
All assets need to be replaced once they are no longer fit for purpose. The same applies to the skills and experience in civil engineering. Such a process has been in place since SAICE was founded and we need to continue, including giving attention to introducing children to civil engineering, as well as making them aware of the principles of mathematics and science at pre-school level. It is very expensive to train and to take graduates through to registration if the basis is absent. Children need to be introduced to the wonderful world of civil engineering at an early age, preferably pre-school.
Even the National Development Plan (2011) recognises that procurement and supply chain management adversely affect the creation and management of immovable assets, as well as service delivery. We need to assist the government to improve procurement and supply chain management.
The combination of institutional shortcomings and inappropriate application of skills, coupled with procurement and supply change management flaws, results in inadequately planned and executed projects, giving rise to troublesome contracts and questionable immovable assets. National Treasury, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are doing sterling work in improving the situation within certain provincial departments. Civil engineering needs to embrace such interventions and build upon them. The work is hampered, however, as a result of inadequate skills in departments, mainly as a result of recruitment and retention shortcomings, as well as public bodies being employers of last resort, not of first choice, for engineering practitioners. The situation needs to be rectified, or at least improved.
A critical imperative is to ensure that each immovable asset remains fit for purpose for as long as possible through appropriate infrastructure asset management.
The South African government is placing much store on capital works, much of it civil engineering, in the National Development Plan. The proposals provide an opportunity for civil engineering to make a difference to the country and to address short-term imperatives through well-planned, well-engineered and well-constructed immovable assets. Value for money is essential, otherwise not only will short-term imperatives be jeopardised, but we shall be imposing an unnecessary life-long liability on ourselves and generations to come.
Interruptions in services provided to end users and service delivery protests are common. Many of the services in question are of a civil engineering nature. We have an obligation to work with the relevant authorities to address the issues causing failure in service delivery and to reduce the physical, social and environmental damage caused by interruptions in service delivery. An important component of such an intervention is public awareness of the consequences of the abuse of services and of littering.
We need to become more active with the three spheres of government in the formulation of policy, the resulting legislation and the implementation thereof, providing a perspective of the practicality of such measures – learning from the past successes, failures and unintended outcomes of well-intended interventions.
The matters raised above do not only affect civil engineering. A concerted effort is necessary by relevant public bodies, the appropriate statutory organisations such as the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) and the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), voluntary associations and industry bodies. The chances of success will be far greater if we work together, each doing that for which it is best suited. SAICE commits itself to such a process.
This address has focused on South Africa. Recent events make it important for us to look beyond our borders and to co-operate with like-minded organisations elsewhere, particularly in Africa. Many African countries have short-term imperatives that are akin to those in South Africa. We can work together and learn from one another when addressing the imperatives.
One of the recognised ways of reducing fertility rates is to educate girls and for them to have career prospects. Hence, civil engineering should build upon the existing initiatives to interest girls and young women in engineering, as well as to offer them excellent career prospects.
Engineering skills have not been and are not being adequately viewed as a national asset. We, as engineering practitioners, also do not tend to view ourselves as assets. Engineering practitioners are developed at great expense over a lengthy period, generally at least three decades. Due to historical attitudes these assets are then ‘retired’ before many of them have completed their useful lives. Coupled with this is increasing life-expectancy, which results in engineering practitioners being ‘fit for purpose’ for much longer than in the past. Retirement is becoming an antiquated concept and we need to adjust our attitudes, as well as the utilisation of ‘engineering practitioner assets’, accordingly.
We have an obligation to look carefully at the unintended outcomes of civil engineering and to see in what measure we can assist to rectify them. While the green economy, greening buildings and taking greater account of the environmental impacts of our actions (sustainability) are receiving ever increasing attention, we should be doing more about the unintended outcomes of us practising our profession.
A starting point would be for us to change our focus from the application of the skill, art and science of our calling being for the benefit of humankind. Increasingly a ‘triple bottom line’ in place of a ‘single bottom line’ has gained favour. The trilogy concept is not new and goes by different designations, one of which is people/planet/profit in the case of business. In the case of a country the trilogy should be resource preservation and protection/people/economy, which collectively would translate into planet/people/economy.
Emphasis on humankind has not translated to the benefit of the environment, other species, the planet or, in many cases, the economy of a country. Emphasis on resource preservation and protection (collectively the planet), on the other hand, should automatically benefit humankind, perhaps not initially or to the extent to which we are accustomed. Account would be taken of each specie’s rightful place in the earth’s biodiversity, as well as the right of future generations to inherit a sound living environment. We have an obligation to protect such an inheritance.
As one of the consequences of adopting a ‘triple bottom line’ approach rather than a humankind focus, we would need to become advocates of the stabilisation of population and demand as a matter of urgency, followed by the natural decrease of population and demand with the concomitant reduction of poverty and resource utilisation.
There are disparate views to such an approach from the perspective of civil engineering. One side holds that population and demand growth provide us with an increasing market to apply our profession and to build businesses. Population and demand stabilisation or decline could be perceived to have an opposite effect. This is not necessarily the case, as a smaller better-off population should be more favourable for civil engineering than a larger population in which funds for capital works and asset management have to compete with social needs expenditure.
We have a mind-set that a growing population is necessary for our industry and economies to flourish. This view is open to question. A large, significantly impoverished population is not conducive to business or economic growth. Povertology (the process of making a living out of poverty) is far more limiting than is the opportunity to develop businesses in a smaller, but better-off society. Impoverishment tends to drain economies, rather than add to economic stability and growth.
If it is necessary for our industry, and indeed for the local and world economies, to remain viable only if the market grows through population numbers and demand increasing, the future of the planet and humankind would be bleak. There is a school of thought that the socio-economic well-being of a population, rather than the size of the population, is a greater driver of economies and for the services that civil engineering provides. We need to explore that school of thought.
Ostentation and conspicuous consumption will hopefully be frowned upon in due time as being morally, socially and environmentally improper. One way, albeit contentious, by which we as civil engineering practitioners could set an example and assist in reducing unnecessary consumption, is for us to purposely start changing our image of success from one of ostentation to one of obvious sustainable living. A few well-known, very wealthy people are already doing so, as are some colleagues.
THE CONTRIBUTION THAT SAICE WILL MAKE
SAICE will continue with the day-to-day operations of the organisation, providing services to its members, ensuring it remains relevant, preserving its heritage and fulfilling its learned society role.
A focus during the coming year will be on working with SAICE’s units, relevant public bodies, the Engineering Council of South Africa, the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions, voluntary associations and industry bodies in South Africa, together with relevant organisations elsewhere in Africa and further afield to assist in addressing the short-term imperatives facing civil engineering, while promoting the long-term adaptations.
During the inauguration of the SAICE President for 2012, Martin van Veelen, he and Past Presidents committed SAICE to participate in the National Development Plan. This commitment stands. SAICE has also committed itself to working with the Engineering Council of South Africa in developing and giving effect to a memorandum of understanding between the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Committee and the Engineering Council of South Africa.
SAICE, together with the Engineering Council of South Africa, is playing a role in enhanced African cooperation through the recently created Federation of African Engineering Organisations (FAEO), of which the first President is Martin van Veelen. In addition, SAICE provides the secretariat for the Southern African Federation of Engineering Organisations (SAFEO), which has ten southern African countries as members and which is one of five regional bodies that make up the Federation of African Engineering Organisations.
SAICE is building on sterling work that our former Executive Director, Dawie Botha, National Office staff and certain members did through the Africa Engineers Forum (AEF). The Engineering Council of South Africa and SAICE contribute in great measure to the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), particularly in respect of capacity building and young member matters. This work will continue.
Much time and effort will be spent on the above matters, structural arrangements to give effect to SAFEO, which will be of great value not only to SAICE members, but also to engineering within Southern Africa.
During 2012 a memorandum of cooperation was signed between the Botswana Institution of Engineers and SAICE with a view to benefiting both organisations and their members. Effect will be given to the memorandum of understanding this year. The possibility of entering into similar agreements with other countries in the SAFEO region will be explored.
Also during 2012, SAICE’s relations were strengthened with the Institution of Engineers India, and a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two organisations. One of the benefits for SAICE members will be access to a larger pool of documentation related to the short-term imperatives and the long-term adaptations than is currently in SAICE’s library. The relationship between the two organisations will be strengthened during the coming year.
CIVILUTION will receive much attention during the year. Arising from South Africa’s history, the evolution of civil engineering, the possible need for far-reaching changes in the way things are done, and the recent moves to greater unity of engineering in Africa, the Chief Executive Officer and National Office staff of SAICE have coined the term CIVILUTION. Many of the issues facing civil engineering, including those raised in this address are contentious and there will be very divergent views and disparate aspirations. Also, much that is required will take us out of our comfort zones and could be perceived as being against our own self-interest, thereby requiring a CIVILUTION.
The term aptly illustrates what we need to do to redress the parlous state of our industry, namely to raise and address controversial issues that will enable our members to fulfil their rightful roles and for the industry to provide an improved service to the various constituencies that benefit from civil engineering.
SAICE’s President for 2001, Kevin Wall, has proposed that SAICE should institute an award for outstanding achievement in the process of infrastructure asset management in order to further raise awareness of the necessity for asset management. The award will be introduced this year.
One of the interventions to give effect to CIVILUTION is a congress planned for the end of September 2013. The congress forms part of the celebrations commemorating SAICE’s 110th year. The congress will identify the form that CIVILUTION should take and what the industry, as well as SAICE, should focus upon over the coming decades. I exhort you to attend the congress and to contribute to charting the direction that civil engineering should take into the future.
Before concluding I wish to acknowledge some of the many people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude.
A wind of change is blowing across Africa, providing significant opportunities for engineering practitioners, but with obligations that require us to consider the well-being of the continent, of its resources, of its people and of the national as well as continental economies.
Africa faces notable challenges, but these can be overcome if we as civil engineering practitioners across the continent take hands and apply our profession in a truly sustainable manner.
I wish to conclude this address by means of ‘A Plea for Africa’ that a member of National Office’s staff, Celestine Perumal, will sing for us.
There are many people to whom I owe a debt of gratitude, some of whom I wish to acknowledge.