• A Hybrid Conference – In-Person and Virtual Presentations
  • Technical Conference:  05 – 09 March 2023
  • Exhibition: 07 – 09 March 2023
  • San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA

The Crucial Role of Photonics in Achieving the UN Sustainability Development Goals: Learnings and Opportunities


Fotini Karinou, Microsoft, UK
Yuanqiu Luo, Futurewei Technologies
Albert Rafel, British Telecommunications, UK
Luca Valcarenghi, Scuola Superiore Sant Anna de Pisa, Italy
Elaine Wong, University of Melbourne, Australia


The United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a shared blueprint for global peace and prosperity, for the planet and its people, now and into the future. Core to this agenda are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that form an urgent call for action by all countries. Ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that close the digital divide, improve health and education, reduce inequality, and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. The role of photonics, e.g., when deployed around a smart city framework and in rural underserved communities, is crucial to meeting the UN SDGs in a timely manner. However, even with its critical role as the digital backbone of society, the infrastructure itself can become a significant sustainability burden. It is thus imperative that future optical communication systems and networks are integrated in the society ensuring environmental sustainability as they evolve.​

This OFC 2023 symposium, as the first in a series of OFC symposia on this topic, will specifically aim to:(a) reflect on the smartcity predictions made by OFCity 2015 competition teams towards sustainability, and (b) discuss related recent R&D efforts and future opportunities towards achieving SDGs from data center network operators, telecom network operators, system and technology providers, and academia. Through the discussions, we aim to highlight crucial next steps for the OFC Community to focus on the next years.​