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The development of today’s societies depends largely on such decisive factors as the quality of their infrastructure, critical for the mobility of goods and people; the importance and strength of their industry, vital for creating wealth and jobs; and a firm commitment to innovation, essential for adapting to new models of production and economic development. This mantra is something that all governments are aware of, but for a wide variety of reasons, it sometimes fades into the background. This is why, in 2016, the United Nations Organization, in its Agenda 2030 roadmap, set Sustainable Development Goal 9 to give impetus to a number of commitments in these areas, which play a key role when it comes to introducing and promoting new technologies, facilitating international trade and enabling the efficient use of resources. Moreover, all of this ultimately has an impact on people’s quality of life.
This impetus is particularly important in developing countries, especially if we consider that worldwide investment in research and development, in terms of the percentage of GDP invested by each country, increased from 1.5 % to 1.7 % between 2000 and 2015, yet in developing regions this investment amounted to less than 1 % of GDP. In least developed countries, moreover, limited infrastructure (such as roads, information and communications technologies, sanitation, electricity and water) means a loss of up to 40 % in the productivity of their businesses, a factor that undermines their competitiveness. And despite the fact that Internet is a constant presence that we take for granted in our everyday lives, 16 % of the world’s population still do not have access to mobile broadband. This is especially true in developing countries, and it is something that Sustainable Development Goal 9 aims to combat.
Furthermore, these measures are necessary in countries whose economies and societies are highly dependent on agricultural production. According to UN figures, barely 30 % of agricultural output in these developing countries undergoes industrial processing. This figure, in stark contrast to the 98 % of processed output in developed countries, highlights the economic opportunities that agricultural industrialization can bring to these regions, with the resultant creation of sustainable employment and increase in productivity. It is also worth bearing in mind that this industrialization of the productive fabric has a multiplier effect on employment, creating 2.2 jobs in related sectors.
All this also represents a unique opportunity for emerging economies to grow under a decarbonised, circular and sustainable economy model; economies where digitalisation and renewable energies should be the foundations of society.
Now that we know what major challenges SDG 9 comprises, let’s take a close look at the specific targets that need to be met!
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
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
Still not sure what the Sustainable Development Goal 9 is? Don’t worry, this video will give you a summary of what this SDG involves.
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