UK, US and Canadian civil engineering bodies commit to joint action on sustainable development

Press release

Knowledge of sustainable development should be a key requirement for engineers, according to a joint statement of intent, released today by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE).

The statement of intent was released at the Global Engineering Congress (GEC), hosted by ICE and the World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO), taking place 22-26 October 2018. Over 2,000 engineers from more than 70 countries have gathered to develop a practical route-map to achieve the SDGs for water, energy, innovation, sustainable cities and climate change.

Signed by Professor Lord Robert Mair, ICE President; Robin A. Kemper, ASCE President; and Glenn Hewus, CSCE President, the statement outlines the three organisations’ intentions to raise the standards of civil engineering and require their members to demonstrate a sound knowledge of sustainable development and the SDGs. The three bodies will collaborate with others to deliver the multi-discipline solutions required to achieve the SDGs.

The full statement is below:
Statement of Intent

The three global engineering institutions namely, the Institution of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering, have long recognized the key role that the civil engineer has to play in addressing our planet’s grand challenges.

The infrastructure designed and built by our members to ensure human well-being is the critical interface with our planet.  It dictates the patterns and flows through which we live our daily lives and affects our long-term prosperity.  As the infrastructure becomes more interconnected and demands more resources, how can we ensure that its development is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable?  In short, how can we “meet the needs of the present without compromising the capability of future generations to meet their own needs”?

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were developed to address humankind’s grand challenges to meet the demands and needs of a growing, global population.  They set out a ‘bold and transformative plan of action to move us to a more sustainable and resilient path, consistent with environmental stewardship of the planet, and leaving no one behind.’

Using the SDGs as our framework, and the Global Engineering Congress (GEC) as the forum, we intend to bring about transformative change in the way infrastructure is conceived, planned, financed, designed, built and maintained.

We will provide leadership and advocacy, nurture collaboration; build capacities, knowledge and skills; and share our stories.

We will transform our combined knowledge into action.

Leadership, Advocacy and Collaboration

We will display leadership by requiring that our members demonstrate a sound knowledge of sustainable development, the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda.  We will advocate the benefits of taking a sustainable approach through our public voice and policy work. We will collaborate with other engineering institutions as well as engage with those outside of engineering to deliver the multi-discipline solutions required to achieve the SDGs. 

Knowledge, Skills and Capacity Building

We will continue to raise the standards of Civil Engineering at the individual and institutional levels.  We will share knowledge on how to engage with the challenges outlined in the SDGs, how individuals can tackle these in their daily practice, how schools and universities can foster related content into their curricula, and how institutions can develop frameworks to enable sustainable development.

Telling the Story

We will celebrate our success and share our setbacks with political and social constituencies and other stakeholders.  We will tell the story of the lives that have been improved through civil engineering and raise awareness around the challenges that still need to be addressed.

Robin A. Kemper P.E., LEED AP, F.SEI, F.ASCE
President, American Society of Civil Engineers   
Glenn Hewus P.Eng
President, Canadian Society for Civil Engineering             
Prof. Lord Robert Mair CBE, FRS, FICE, FREng
President, Institution of Civil Engineers