top of page
SDG #9

Building Sustainable Infrastructure for a Resilient Future

A Focus on Sustainable Infrastructure and Attaining Resilience.

In a rapidly changing world, an era of rapid technological advancements and interconnected global systems the need for sustainable development has become more crucial than ever, especially when fueled with the inclusivity of all and leaving no one behind. However, in order to be prepared for this transformation, societies must reconsider their approaches to education, work practices, and training methods

[1]. Among the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations, SDG 9 occupies a crucial position.

This goal focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and fostering innovation. By understanding and actively working towards SDG 9, we can contribute to creating an economically prosperous, environmentally friendly, and socially inclusive future. Holistically, sustainable development goal 9 addresses:

  • The Importance of Sustainable Infrastructure: At the heart of SDG 9 lies the concept of sustainable infrastructure. This involves developing resilient and efficient transportation systems, renewable energy sources, and accessible and inclusive cities. Sustainable infrastructure not only supports economic growth but also minimises the negative impact on the environment. By investing in sustainable infrastructure, we can reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency, and create more livable and inclusive communities.

  • Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialisation: Industrialisation plays a pivotal role in economic development, but it must be approached in a sustainable and inclusive manner. SDG 9 calls for promoting sustainable industrial practices that prioritise resource efficiency, innovation, and job creation. By adopting cleaner production processes, investing in research and development, and providing decent work opportunities, we can achieve economic growth while safeguarding the environment and ensuring social equity.

  • Fostering Innovation for a Sustainable Future: Innovation is a driving force behind progress. SDG 9 emphasises the need to foster innovation in technology, industry, and infrastructure. Embracing new technologies, such as renewable energy solutions and digital advancements, can revolutionise the way we live and work. By encouraging research, development, and knowledge-sharing, we can unlock innovative solutions to address societal challenges, bridge the digital divide, and promote sustainable practices across various sectors.

Why it Matters

The cost of not taking action is significant. Realising inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, along with fostering innovation and infrastructure, has the potential to drive economic forces that create jobs and generate income. However, despite some progress, it seems that the efforts of individuals, governments, and businesses in implementing and promoting SDG 9 are insufficient. Let's examine the following snapshot to gain insights into the current state of SDG9.

  • Global manufacturing production experienced a remarkable growth rate of 7.2% in 2021, surpassing its pre-pandemic level. This indicates a strong recovery and resilience in the manufacturing sector.

  • The global share of manufacturing value added to total GDP increased from 16.2% in 2015 to 16.9% in 2021. This upward trend highlights the growing significance of manufacturing in driving economic output.

  • Globally, the share of manufacturing jobs in total employment declined from 13.7% in 2019 to 13.1% in 2020. Addressing this decline is crucial for promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

  • Only approximately one in three small manufacturers benefit from a loan or line of credit, highlighting limited access to financial support that hampers their growth and contribution to the economy.

  • In Africa, 15.7% of small-scale industries, and in Latin America and the Caribbean, 44.2% of such industries received various forms of credit. Strengthening access to finance for small manufacturers globally is crucial for promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation.

  • In 2019, the share of medium- and high-tech manufacturing in total manufacturing was significantly higher in Europe and Northern America at 47.7%, compared to 21.4% in sub-Saharan Africa and merely 10.5% in the least developed countries. Bridging this gap is essential for balanced industrial development.

  • Between 2015 and 2021, 4G network coverage doubled, reaching an impressive 88% of the world's population. This expansion of mobile connectivity signifies progress in promoting digital inclusion and access to information.

  • However, despite estimates indicating that 95% of the world's population were covered by a mobile-broadband network in 2021, significant gaps in coverage persist in least-developed countries and landlocked developing countries, where 17% of the population lacks network access.

  • In the least developed countries, 14% of the rural population has no mobile network coverage at all, while an additional 12% only have access to 2G coverage. Ensuring equitable and widespread access to mobile networks is crucial for enabling connectivity and driving economic opportunities for all.

A Look at Challenges and Way Forward

While the vision of SDG 9 is inspiring, we must also acknowledge the challenges we face. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted global supply chains, slowed down infrastructure projects, and affected industrial production. However, it also highlighted the importance of resilient infrastructure and digital connectivity. In the global journey towards industrial and innovative development, the world is challenged by:

  • Infrastructure Gaps: Many regions, particularly in developing countries, face significant infrastructure gaps, including inadequate transportation networks, limited access to energy, and inadequate water and sanitation systems. Addressing these gaps requires substantial investments and long-term planning.

  • Unequal Access to Technology: There is a digital divide, with disparities in access to technology and ICTs between developed and developing countries. Bridging this divide is crucial for promoting inclusive development and enabling all individuals to benefit from technological advancements.

  • Sustainable Industrialisation: Balancing economic growth with environmental sustainability poses a challenge in achieving sustainable industrialisation. Transitioning to low-carbon and resource-efficient production processes and promoting circular economy principles are essential for mitigating environmental impacts.

As we recover from the pandemic, it is crucial to invest in sustainable infrastructure, promote technological advancements, and prioritise the needs of marginalised communities to ensure a more equitable and resilient future.

Taking Action

  • Infrastructure Investments: Governments and international organisations should prioritise infrastructure investments to close the infrastructure gap, focusing on sustainable and resilient solutions. Public-private partnerships and innovative financing mechanisms can play a vital role in mobilising resources.

  • Technology Transfer and Capacity Building: Facilitating technology transfer from developed to developing countries and providing capacity-building support can enhance their ability to adopt and adapt to new technologies, fostering inclusive development and reducing the technology gap.

  • Research and Development: Increasing investments in research and development, particularly in sustainable technologies, can drive innovation and promote sustainable industrialisation. Collaboration between academia, industry, and government institutions is crucial for knowledge sharing and technology diffusion.

  • Promoting Sustainable Practices: Governments and industries should prioritise sustainable practices, including resource efficiency, waste reduction, and the adoption of clean energy sources. Encouraging sustainable manufacturing processes and promoting green industries can contribute to a more sustainable future.

Towards Resilience: Industry, infrastructure, and innovation are crucial factors that propel economic growth and create social value. Sustainable industrialisation has the potential to uplift communities from poverty, but it requires careful management to prevent additional strains on both people and the planet[2]. Each one of us has a role to play in accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 9 (SDG 9). We can contribute by advocating for sustainable infrastructure projects, supporting environmentally friendly industries, and advocating for policies that prioritise inclusivity and innovation.

Furthermore, individuals and businesses can incorporate sustainable practices into their daily lives and operations. Businesses can promote ethical leadership and cultivate a corporate culture that places a strong emphasis on innovation, inclusivity, and sustainability. By doing so, we can forge a future that is economically prosperous, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable[1]. Let us collaborate to ensure that our infrastructure is resilient, our industries are sustainable, and our innovations drive progress toward a better world for everyone.

[1]SDG #9 – Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

[2]SDG Blueprint | SDG 09


bottom of page