SDG9: Ensure Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure for the Society.

UN Targets

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

9.2 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

9.3 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

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, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities

9.5 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

9.A 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 18

9. B 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

9. C 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

The Challenge

The story of industrial development has been an important determinant of the course of our history as a community of nations. From the first steam engines to the first assembly lines, to today’s truly global production chains and processes, industry has changed our economies and helped drive major changes in our societies. But without sustainable practices and infrastructure in place, our growth has left vast sections of people behind. 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 this 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 can we address 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.