• Editorial

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

Build Resilient Infrastructure, Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Foster Innovation

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE?

SDG 9 refers to the need to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. It aims to increase the contribution of industry to employment and GDP, doubling this contribution in the least developed countries, as well as to increase scientific research and modernize infrastructure.

WHY IS INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE SO IMPORTANT?

According to the UN, industry, innovation and infrastructure are three fundamental pillars of sustainable development. They are also essential for the functioning of businesses and, consequently, for economic and social development. The UN details, for example, that every manufacturing job creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors of the economy.


Economic growth, social development and action against climate change depend to a large extent on investment in infrastructure, sustainable industrial development and technological progress. But basic infrastructure such as roads, information and communications technologies, sanitation, power and water remain in short supply in many developing countries.


If global manufacturing growth had already declined even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation is now much more critical, as the coronavirus crisis has hit manufacturing industries hard, causing disruptions in value and product supply chains. This situation is particularly acute in developing countries, where manufacturing jobs represent an essential source of income. The devastating effects of COVID-19 threaten to halt and even reverse all progress made so far on SDG 9, the UN warns.


Progress will only be achieved with advances in technology, and this requires the promotion of sustainable industries and investment in scientific research and innovation. Good roads, reliable electricity, good sea and air connections, and universal Internet connectivity are the measures recommended by the UN to end this situation.


Addressing the current situation and reversing this is a major goal at the international level. For this reason, building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation have become SDG 9 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in September 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda.

TARGETS

The specific targets set for 2030 are:

  • Develop reliable, sustainable, resilient and quality infrastructure, with an emphasis on affordable and equitable access for all.

  • Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization.

  • Increase the contribution of industry to employment and GDP and double that contribution in the least developed countries.

  • Upgrade infrastructure and convert industries to make them sustainable, using resources more efficiently and promoting the adoption of clean and environmentally sound technology and industrial processes.

  • Enhance scientific research and improve the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries.

Current status:


Countries need proper structure, enough information and data, communication systems, and relevant technologies to be able to overcome shocks, and in our case the COVID-19 pandemic. An increase in research and development investment is essential to face the crisis, whether it is to invent vaccines or to manage the financial and social side effects of the pandemic. Manufacturing, production, agriculture, and employment are affected by the limits implied due to the virus. Aviation faced a 60 percent collapse in air travel demand. Low-tech products experienced negative growth, while high-tech and medium-tech products took over the market especially the digital equipment due to the study or work from home transitions. Still, small industries struggle with accessing credits. And small rural areas struggle with connecting to the outside which impacts their agriculture, business, and employment.