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The earth is experiencing unprecedented change driven by increasing population, industrial-ization and urbanization. This is leading to rapid climate change and scarcity of resources. There is grow-ing agreement globally of the need to deliver sustainable development to improve the lives of millions of people in low and middle income countries through provision of clean water, sanitation, energy and transport solutions. The response of the international community to this challenge is via the United Na-tions programme (published in January 2016), which establishes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) including the response of nations to climate change. This paper provides a summary of the keynote lecture aspects that address: Drivers for sustainable development, the United Nations SDG, climate change projections, global action on climate change, and the sustainability case for using geosynthetics and how it can be quantified. A more detailed discussion of these topics is provided by Dixon et al. (2017). This paper then focusses on the importance and approaches for assessing impacts of climate change on the performance of geosynthetic systems. An example of a landfill capping system is used to demonstrate how modeling of changing weather patterns can be used to assess long-term stability and hence inform design decisions. The geosynthetics community is challenged to be proactive and play a leading role in helping engineers deliver a better future for populations world-wide.