Approved by the Committee on Sustainability on February 22, 2019
Approved by the Public Policy Committee on April 28, 2019
Adopted by the Board of Direction on July 13, 2019
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) supports implementation of the civil engineering aspects of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ASCE works in collaboration with other domestic and international organizations to engage engineers in addressing the needs of disadvantaged communities through capacity building and the development of sustainable and appropriate solutions to poverty.
In an age of interdependence, globalization is a crucial pillar of progress. Science and engineering can contribute solutions to address many issues that are facing the developing world. By 2050 over two billion additional people are expected to populate the Earth, 95 percent of them in developing or underdeveloped countries. This growth will create unprecedented demands for energy, food, land, water, transportation, materials, waste disposal, earth moving, health care, environmental cleanup, telecommunication, and infrastructure. The role of engineers will be critical in fulfilling those demands at various scales, ranging from remote small communities to large urban areas, and mostly in the developing world. In 2007, engineers embraced a vision to contribute to the building of a more sustainable, stable, and secure world. We must train a new generation of engineers who can better meet the challenges of the developing world and address the needs of disadvantaged communities. Today, an estimated 20 percent of the world's population lacks clean water, 40 percent lacks adequate sanitation, and 20 percent lacks adequate housing.
Engineers of the 21st century play a critical role in contributing to peace and security in an increasingly challenged world. The engineering profession has an obligation to provide solutions to meet the basic needs of all humans for water, sanitation, food, health, shelter, and energy that are culturally appropriate and that conserve and sustainably use resources. To those ends, ASCE worked with the SDG Implementation Committee through the World Federation of Engineering Organizations and its US member, the American Association of Engineering Societies' International Activities Committee Task Force on Global Sustainability.
By helping meet the SDGs the engineering profession contributes to a world where all people have access to the knowledge and resources with which to meet their basic human needs and promote sustainable development in such areas as water supply and sanitation, food production and processing, housing and construction, energy, transportation and communication, income generation, and employment creation.
ASCE Policy Statement 517
First Approved in 2006