Uniting higher education, governments, industry and society for a sustainable future
30 May – 1 June 2023 Thuwal, Saudi Arabia
THE’s Global Sustainable Development Congress, hosted at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), will bring together leaders from across the world for an immersive event tackling the big issues around the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Underpinned by the principles of “leaving no one behind”, six streams of content aligned with the SDGs will feature a diverse range of global voices from business, government, civil society and higher education to highlight the power of research, innovation and collaboration in converting the goals into action to drive sustainable change.
Over three days, leaders and changemakers will share powerful case studies and actionable insights through thought-provoking panels, collaborative workshops and bespoke networking events forging bold new alliances between sectors.
Join us as we work together to find solutions to global sustainability issues.
The congress will also feature the live reveal of the THE Impact Rankings 2023 on 30 May, accompanied by engagement workshops and data masterclasses to explore the latest insights and trends. Delegates will get an exclusive first look at who is leading the fight for sustainable change in higher education. Explore the THE Impact Rankings 2022.
Dive deep into the data in our Sustainability Labs and discover ways to enhance your own sustainability initiatives as THE experts showcase how we can help you forge new partnerships and deliver on the SDGs.
We are delighted to be taking the event to Saudi Arabia, a vital strategic force in the delivery of the goals. It is particularly exciting that we’ll be hosting the event on KAUST’s campus on the Red Sea where we will be able to see for ourselves the outstanding research being done there on protecting our oceans and supporting arid land farming.
– Phil Baty, chief knowledge officer, THE
Watch our welcome video featuring Tony Chan, president of KAUST
Education, gender and inequality
Education builds human capital, which in turn promotes economic growth. Eliminating extreme poverty, providing decent work and overcoming gender and other inequalities are paramount to achieving a sustainable future. This stream explores the urgent need for countries to expand and transform education systems, legislate and ensure continued reduction of inequalities, expand social safety nets, promote economic growth and how higher education, business, government and civil society can work together to achieve this.
Health, well-being and demography
Happy, healthy and productive communities that build and support sustainable ecosystems require inclusive approaches to community and healthcare structures. Faced with global pandemics, volatile geopolitical landscapes and disruptive powers of technology, many systems are simply not fit for purpose. This stream examines what business and higher education, supported by civil society, can do to support governments in the fundamental transformations.
Energy decarbonisation and sustainable industry
Sustainable futures require universal access to modern energy sources, decarbonisation of the global the energy system and the continued reduction of industrial pollution of soil, water and air. To achieve this, we need close collaboration and global thinking that uses the latest technologies and innovations. This stream asks what more businesses and governments can do to achieve this, what role higher education plays in driving the research and innovation, and how civil societies can step up to change global consumption habits to speed up this transformation.
Sustainable food, land, water and oceans
Our volatile and precious natural ecosystems and resources are under constant threat of annihilation by the forces of overpopulation and urbanisation. This stream explores the solutions that work and how they can be scaled up and applied globally to help preserve what we have left while exploring ways to rebuild and replenish the vital resources that have already been lost.
Sustainable cities and communities
Cities and other urban areas are home to around 55 per cent of humanity and 70 per cent of global economic output. By 2050, these will increase to 70 and 85 per cent respectively. Most cities are far from meeting the triple objective of being economically productive, socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable. Urbanisation puts huge strains on the resources around cities essential for their survival. This stream will challenge conventional thinking around how to achieve sustainability, and what more we can do to embed sustainable practices globally.
Digital revolution for sustainable development
Artificial intelligence and other digital technologies underpinning the Fourth Industrial Revolution are disrupting nearly every sector of the economy. Digital technologies can raise productivity, lower production costs, reduce emissions, expand access, dematerialise production, improve matching in markets, enable the use of big data and make public services more readily available. They can also improve resource-use efficiencies, support the circular economy, enable zero-carbon energy systems, help monitor and protect ecosystems and assume other critical roles in support of the SDGs.
What to expect
hours of content
Keynotes and panels
Sessions detailing innovations across inequality, health and education, climate change, food security and sustainable economic growth.
An interactive showcase of the latest innovations, tools and practical approaches to meeting the SDGs.
Fringe events, roundtables and masterclasses
A comprehensive range of unique networking events bringing together innovators from key sectors to discuss and workshop solutions.
On 29 May, take advantage of focused workshops, roundtables, debates and masterclasses to hear from those on the front line of tackling SDG challenges around the world and discover what measures are working.