Engineers to gather for first ever Global Engineering Congress to tackle UN sustainable development goals

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), working with the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), is bringing together the world’s civil engineering organisations for the first time in a generation.

Announced at Ecobuild this week, the Global Engineering Congress will convene in London in October this year, where engineers from over 150 countries across the world will determine how to make the delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals a reality.

The Congress will focus on how engineers can improve the lives of the billions of people around the world who still face a myriad of challenges, including water poverty, slum accommodation, and poor health. The global engineering profession will embark on a combined and coordinated effort to tackle the five Sustainable Development Goals where engineers can make the most impact: clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; industry, innovation and infrastructure; sustainable cities and communities; and climate action.

Senior leaders, including from the International Science Technology and Innovation Centre, the World Energy Council, UNESCO, the World Water Council, and the World Bank, are due to address the Congress and share their expertise. An extensive programme of roundtable discussions and workshops will tackle topics including how digital innovation can enable sustainability, and how infrastructure can unlock the growth potential of developing countries.

Professor Lord Robert Mair, President of the ICE, said:

"The global challenges we face today are not small. Every person across the globe deserves a safe home, clean water, sanitation, clean air, electricity, and the means to travel. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were created and adopted to try to address these social needs, promoting prosperity in all countries while also protecting the planet. These are the goals that civil engineers should be and are working towards.

"Our profession is ideally placed to answer the many challenges the world faces. Civil engineers have for centuries been at the heart of social and economic progress and helped improve the world in which we live. They provide many of the things we need and take for granted every day – like clean water, transport and electricity – directly transforming people's lives. Today, with a changing climate that brings more extreme weather events and a global population that continues to grow exponentially, it has never been more important to have passionate and creative civil engineers tackling the problems society faces head on."

The ICE announced the Congress at Ecobuild, the largest UK event for the built environment, aligning with this year's conference theme of delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The ICE led part of the main Ecobuild conference programme, with Nathan Baker, ICE Director of Engineering Knowledge, chairing a panel discussion on 'Decarbonising water and energy – a global urgency'. The session will focus on two of the Sustainable Development Goals – clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy – discussing the global challenge of water and energy resilience. The panel speakers include David Riley, Head of Carbon and Energy, Anglian Water; Davide Stronati, Global Sustainability Leader, Mott MacDonald; and Philip Pascall from the ICE Energy Expert Panel.

Hosting a dedicated 'Infrastructure District' over the 3-day event, the ICE is offering a wider seminar programme, with expert presentations and debates on what the industry is doing to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.