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Sustainable Development Goals

Sustainable Development Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Investments in infrastructure – transportation, irrigation, storage facilities, energy, electrification and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in food security, health and education require investment in infrastructure and market facilities.

Almost 80 percent of poor people in the world live outside of towns and cities. In developing nation, rural areas are home to the majority of people, most of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Limited connectivity and access to markets as a result of isolation and weak infrastructure has a direct impact on the incomes and livelihoods of small-scale producers. Without infrastructure for transportation, storage, cooling and markets, fresh products like fruits, vegetables, meat and fish straight from the farm or after the catch can spoil quickly.

Investment in rural infrastructure, diversifying rural employment and improving rural-urban linkages can contribute to a more interconnected and vibrant society, while slowing the exodus of rural people to cities. Creating opportunities for sustainable rural livelihoods can ensure growth is inclusive and balanced in a country.

Small-scale producers in rural communities are often the most isolated and vulnerable to food insecurity. Targeted interventions aimed at diversifying employment into non-agricultural activities, and providing smallholders with affordable access to technologies and infrastructure to sustainably transform food systems are essential to accelerating poverty reduction. Growth of non-farm activities is often driven by agricultural growth and can stimulate local employment creation.

Facts and figures

  • Basic infrastructure like roads, information and communication technologies, sanitation, electrical power and water remains scarce in many developing countries.
  • About 2.6 billion people in the developing world are facing difficulties in accessing electricity full time.
  • 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation and almost 800 million people lack access to water, many hundreds of millions of them in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • 783 million people do not have access to clean and safe water, 84% of them live in rural areas, where they live principally through subsistence agriculture. 
  • 1-1.5 billion people do not have access to reliable phone services.
  • Inadequate infrastructure leads to a lack of access to markets, jobs, information and training, creating a major barrier to doing business.
  • In developing countries, barely 30 per cent of agricultural production undergoes industrial processing. In high-income countries, 98 per cent is processed.

SDG9 Targets

  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.
  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.

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.

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.

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.

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