SDG 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
As the UN explains: “Investments in infrastructure — transportation, irrigation, energy, and information and communication technology – are critical to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many nations.”
The United Nations General Assembly recognized the importance of industrial development for sustainable development in their proposed plan for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which includes inclusive and sustainable industrialization as SDG9, as well as fostering innovation and building resilient infrastructure. Industry and industrialization are recognized as the primary drivers of long-term economic development, environmental sustainability, and shared prosperity in Goal 9.
Together with innovation and infrastructure, inclusive and sustainable industrialization can generate dynamic and competitive economic forces that produce employment and income. They are crucial in introducing and promoting new technologies, as well as facilitating international trade and allowing resource efficiency. However, there is still a long way to go before the world can achieve this potential. If they are to fulfill the 2030 target, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) must expedite the growth of their manufacturing sector and increase investment in scientific research and innovation.
Global manufacturing production plummeted as a result of the COVID‑19 crisis
The pandemic impacted Asia and the Pacific’s manufacturing sector more than it did during the global financial crisis of 2007–2009, resulting in a 6.8% decrease in production in 2020. Manufacturing value added (MVA) of global gross domestic product (GDP) decreased from 16.6% to 16.0 percent during 2019 and 2020. Manufacturing employment fell by an average of 5.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020 and 2.5 percent in the third quarter of 2020 in 49 countries, compared to the same periods in 2019. Working-hour losses were much worse, at 11.9 percent in the second quarter and 4.4 percent in the third quarter of 2020. Manufacturing in the least developed countries (LDCs) is expected to expand by a meager 1.9 percent in 2020, compared to 8.7% in 2019. MVA’s proportion of total GDP in these nations increased from 10% in 2010 to 12.8 percent in 2020, far too slowly to meet the objective of doubling that share by 2030. MVA was only $136 per capita in LDCs in 2020, compared to $4,296 in Europe and Northern America.