Sustainable Development Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, Infrastructure

Sustainable Development Goal 9 seeks to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. This SDG encompasses three important aspects of sustainable development: infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation. Infrastructure provides the basic physical systems and structures essential to the operation of a society or enterprise. Industrialisation drives economic growth, creates job opportunities and thereby reduces income poverty. Innovation advances the technological capabilities of industrial sectors and prompts the development of new skills. Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions needed for environmentally sound industrialisation.

Economic growth, social development and climate action are heavily dependent on investments in infrastructure, sustainable industrial development and technological progress. In the face of a rapidly changing global economic landscape and increasing inequalities, sustained growth must include industrialization that first of all, makes opportunities accessible to all people, and two, is supported by innovation and resilient infrastructure.

Basic infrastructure like roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power and water remains scarce in many developing countries. Approximately 1.2 billion people do not have access to reliable phone services. 2.3 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation and almost 800 million lack access to water. In developing countries, barely 30 percent of agricultural production undergoes industrial processing. 

Inclusive and sustainable industrialization, together with innovation and infrastructure, can unleash dynamic and competitive economic forces that generate employment and income. They play a key role in introducing and promoting new technologies, facilitating international trade and enabling the efficient use of resources. However, the world still has a long way to go to fully tap this potential. More than 937 million of the world’s population in 2016 do not have access to electricity. For many lower-income countries, the existent infrastructure constraints affect firm productivity by around 40%.

Why is it important?

Investments in transport, irrigation, energy and information and communications technology have been crucial to driving economic growth and empowering communities in many countries. The job multiplication effect of industrialisation has a positive impact on society, as 1.1 jobs in manufacturing creates 2.2 jobs in other sectors. The manufacturing sector is an important employer, accounting for around 14.2% of the world’s workforce of 2.9 billion. It has long been recognised that a strong physical network of industry and communication can enhance productivity and incomes, and improve health, wellbeing and education. Technological progress similarly enhances our wellbeing as countries, and can also improve the state of the planet through increased resource and energy efficiency.

How do we contribute to this?

Through SDG 9, countries have determined that investing in more resilient infrastructure, cooperating across borders, and encouraging small enterprises will all be critical to ensuring sustainable industrial development. We will also have to improve our existing industrial infrastructure, and here, technological innovation will be key. Governments and businesses will have to contribute to creating a hospitable policy environment for innovation, encourage scientific research, and improve access to information technology universally.

It’s also about our livelihoods. The growth of new industries means improvement in the standard of living for many of us. Also, if industries pursue sustainability, this approach will have a positive effect on the environment. Climate change affects all of us

Establishing standards and promoting regulations that ensure company projects and initiatives should be sustainably managed. Collaborating with NGOs and the public sector to help promote sustainable growth within developing countries.

India and Goal 9

The government’s flagship interventions like Make in India and Start Up India as well as Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Shramev Jayate Karyakram are fuelling innovation and sustainable industrial and economic development.

But then what are the targets set by the UN that it aims to achieve by 2030?

  • Develop quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, including regional and trans-border infrastructure, to support economic development and human well being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all.

  • Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries.

  • Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services, including affordable credit, and their integration into value chains and markets.

  • By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.

  • Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, in particular developing countries, including, by 2030, encouraging innovation and substantially increasing the number of research and development workers per 1 million people and public and private research and development spending.

  • Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, land-locked developing countries and small island developing states.

  • Support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries, including by ensuring a conducive policy environment for, inter alia, industrial diversification and value addition to commodities.

  • Significantly increase access to information and communications technology and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020.

In the face of a rapidly changing global economic landscape and increasing inequalities, sustained growth must include industrialization that first of all, makes opportunities accessible to all people, and two, is supported by innovation and resilient infrastructure.