Closer Look at Sustainable Development Goal 9


I am sure that many of us have been hearing about the sustainable development goals, but exactly are they? Today we are going to talk about one specific goal, which is the Sustainable development goal 9 (Industry, Innovationa dn Infrastructure).

Sustainable Development Goal 9 Overview

Sustainable development goal 9(industry, innovation, and infrastructure) also regarded as SDG 9 or Goal 9, is one of the 17 interconnected goals of the 2030 agenda, adopted by the United Nations and her 193 member nations in the general assembly in 2015, these goals are a shared vision by the UN and her members to end poverty and achieve world- wide sustainable development by the year 2030 (European Commission Environment, 2020).
The aim of SDG 9 in particular is to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation. In essence, SDG 9 is all about promoting innovative and sustainable technologies and ensuring equal and universal access to information and financial markets. It recognizes that the ability to communicate and connect effectively, develop new skills, industries and technology and move people and things efficiently, is very important, crucial even, in overcoming the many interlinked economic, environmental and social challenges that we face in the 21st century.
Technological development in infrastructure is what gives rise to a sustainable society, in that it would create prosperity and jobs, which would essentially create a prosperous society. The growth of new industries means improvement in the standard of leaving for many people, if industries pursue sustainability, it will have a positive effect on the environment.

Sustainable Development Goal 9’s Targets

Industry and innovation are part of sustainable development goal 9
These are targets the UN set to help facilitate action towards achieving this goal, they are about 8 goals on the target list and they include the following;
Target 9.1: 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.
Target 9.2: Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and by 2030 raise significantly industry’s share of employment and GDP in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries.
Target 9.3: Increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, particularly in developing countries, to financial services including affordable credit and their integration into value chains and markets.
Target 9.4: 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, all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities.
Target 9.5: Enhance scientific research, upgrade the technological capabilities of industrial sectors in all countries, particularly developing countries, including by 2030 encouraging innovation and increasing the number of research and development workers per one million people and public and private research and development spending.
Target 9.6:
Facilitate sustainable and resilient infrastructure development in developing countries through enhanced financial, technological and technical support to African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and Small island developing states.
Target 9.7: 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.
Target 9.8: Significantly increase access to ICT and strive to provide universal and affordable access to internet in least developed countries by 2020 (UNDP, 2020).

Problems with Achieve this goal now

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic , global manufacture rate was already on a steady decline due to tariffs and trade tensions especially. The COVID-19 pandemic made the situation of the global economy much worse with major industries shutting down, leading to wide spread unemployment and economic recession across the globe. Although some countries are already recovering , many countries are still struggling to deal with the impact of the pandemic.
The airline industry, which play an important role in global economic development, faced the biggest decline in its history in the first five months of 2020, having a 51 per cent drop In airline passengers due to countries across the globe going on lockdown. In order for SDG 9 to be achievable, the airline industry has to be working efficiently as It is the most important form of transportation in the global environment today, and plays a very huge role in trade activities between countries.
Many developing countries lack basic infrastructure like good roads, sanitation, electrical power, information and communication technologies, security and clean water. The cost of business in many developing countries are through the roof, and they do not provide an environment that promotes economic and infrastructural growth . For example In 2019, some 87 percent of people In developed countries used the internet, compared with just 19 per cent in the least developed countries.(Secretary General, UN, 2020) .
Achieving SDG 9 will require significant financing and political will. Key challenges include improving infrastructure in developing countries particularly internet access, inadequate transport, and disparity of research and development investment and number of researchers in developing countries when compared to developed countries.

How much progress has been made and how we can help

Sustainable development goal 9: building infrastructure
Globally, there has been an increase in investment in research and development, as well as finance for economic infrastructure in developing countries. Impressive progress has been made in mobile connectivity with almost the entire world population (97 per cent) living within reach of a mobile cellular signal.(secretary general ,UN, 2020). This is a step in the right direction, because easy communication and an almost limitless access to information is very important in achieving this goal.
Achieving this goal will be a collective effort and everyone can help in meeting them, and how can we help? We can help by collaborating with NGOS and the public sector to help promote sustainable growth within developing countries. The geographic reach of research and development facilities can also be expanded. By this , we would be bringing research and development capabilities to developing countries.
Business wise, we can Promote innovation by giving all stakeholders the opportunity to offer creative solutions to sustainability challenges, and further scope out the good ideas and offer awards to the best. We can also Invest in new and resilient infrastructure in developing countries, or as an alternative, retrofit existing infrastructure to make it more efficient and sustainable.
We can also Consult and engage a wide range of stakeholders, including minority groups, to ensure that infrastructure development benefits and creates opportunities for all.
We can also think about how industry impacts life and well-being and use social media to push for our policy makers to prioritize sustainable development goals.

Curious about the other sustainable development goals? Here is an article that has the overview for the sustainable development goals!

“The 2030 agenda for sustainable Development and the SDGs”, European Commission Environment, 2020.
“Goal 9:industry , innovation and infrastructure” united nations development program( UNDP) 2020.
Progress Towards The Sustainable Development Goals: Reports of the General Secretary, 2020.
Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!