Urgent action on sustainable development needed from world’s engineers

Press release

  • United Nations (UN) warns that progress on sustainable development is too slow for 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals to be met
  • 2000 engineers and policymakers from over 150 countries to meet in London to agree action plan.
2,000 engineers and policymakers from more than 150 countries will meet in London to agree a worldwide response to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The first Global Engineering Congress (GEC 2018), to be held in Westminster for five days from the 23rd October 2018, is a joint effort by the World Federation of Engineering Organisations and Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) to spur practical action on climate change, clean water, clean energy, innovation and infrastructure and sustainable cities.

Action is needed with the UN warning that global progress on the SDGs is too slow and uneven for the world to meet its 2030 targets.

Professor Lord Robert Mair, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “We cannot be complacent about the need for escalated efforts on sustainable development. The planet is changing faster than we are currently adapting, and progress is not reaching those who most need it.

“It is not acceptable that in 2018, one billion people are still without electricity and more than twice that number are without basic sanitation. Everyone deserves safe housing, clean energy and water, and an environment worth living in, and these are areas where civil engineers can and do make a real difference.

“With a changing climate and a growing global population, the challenge is only intensifying. At GEC 2018, I want to see the entire engineering community unite behind a single vision of how we can drive change.”

Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the UK National Infrastructure Commission, said: “The UK is facing significant challenges due to climate change and an increasing population. As the National Infrastructure Commission’s recent work has found, we need to secure the country’s long-term water and energy supplies, reduce waste and encourage sustainable growth. Countries across the world are seeking to meet similar goals.

“GEC 2018 will bring together the global engineering profession to tackle these issues which profoundly affect people’s everyday lives. I’m looking forward to discussing the key institutional and policy changes needed to achieve the UN SDGs and working together to develop a roadmap towards a truly sustainable future.”

At GEC 2018, policymakers and engineers will focus on subjects including how to build climate resilience into city and infrastructure design and the role of sustainable finance in funding decarbonisation.

GEC 2018 will feature over 100 speakers, with keynote presentations including:
  • Sir John Armitt, Chairman of the UK National Infrastructure Commission
  • Dame Ann Dowling, President, Royal Academy of Engineering
  • Michelle Blom, Director General of the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment of the Netherlands
  • John White, Head of Global Delivery, 100 Resilient Cities
  • Catherine Yang, Head of AI Technologies, Baidu
  • Katie Cresswell-Maynard, Chief Executive, Engineers Without Borders UK
  • Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Infrastructure, The World Bank  
GEC 2018 will also mark the 200th anniversary of ICE and the UK Government’s Year of Engineering. Sponsors include Tony Gee and Partners, NPI and Mott MacDonald.

About the Global Engineering Congress

In October 2018 the World Federation of Engineering Organisations and ICE will hold the first Global Engineering Congress at ICE headquarters, One Great George Street in London.

The flagship event of ICE's bicentenary brings together the world's best engineering minds to agree a response to the pressing need for action on climate change, delivering clean water, sustainable energy and a connected world. The event represents a unique gathering of the ICE, the World Federation of Engineering Organisations, American Society of Civil Engineers, Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, European Council of Civil Engineers, Commonwealth Engineers, Engineers Australia and many more.