May 08th 2024

SDG: Goal 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

SDG: Goal 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure: Sustainable and inclusive industrialization combined with innovation and infrastructure is crucial to unleash competitive and dynamic economic forces. These not only generate income and employment, but also play a key role in the introduction and promotion of new technologies. They also enable efficient use of resources and facilitate international trade.

However, growth in the manufacturing sector has been steadily declining worldwide, especially in countries of the Global South. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated this trend by leading to an 8.4% decline in production due to the collapse of global supply chains.

Above all, the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for resilient infrastructure. According to the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), additional investment of around USD 434 billion per year is needed to make infrastructure resilient to climate change and disasters.

What goals are being tried to achieve?

Sustainable industrialization is essential for creating jobs and increasing prosperity. By promoting inclusive industrialization, we can build an economy that is not only dynamic but also environmentally conscious. This means that we need to focus on developing technologies and innovations that drive sustainable development.

At the same time, the development of quality infrastructure is crucial. A reliable and sustainable infrastructure contributes significantly to improving the quality of life. This includes not only the expansion of transportation routes and energy supply, but also the creation of green and resource-efficient solutions that contribute to environmental relief in the long term.

By linking these three pillars – sustainable industrialization, promoting innovation and expanding quality infrastructure – we can formulate a holistic strategy for sustainable development. This strategy will not only help to tackle current challenges, but will also create a solid foundation for a sustainable and prosperous society.

Innovation and technology development

Promoting innovation and technology development is crucial to increase productivity and support sustainable development in all sectors. By investing in research and development and transferring technologies, we can find new solutions to meet the challenges of our time while generating economic, environmental and social benefits.

Innovations enable us to introduce more efficient production methods, make better use of resources and develop environmentally friendly alternatives. They also drive the development of clean energy technologies, reduce emissions and help combat climate change. In addition, innovative approaches in the areas of health, education and infrastructure can help to improve people’s quality of life and promote social development.

Technology transfer plays an important role in this, especially for developing countries that may not have the resources or expertise to develop new technologies on their own. By transferring best practices and technologies from developed countries, developing countries can increase their productivity and improve their competitiveness while achieving sustainable development goals.

Overall, the promotion of innovation and technology development is a key component of a holistic strategy for a sustainable future. It opens up new opportunities to reconcile economic prosperity with environmental protection and social justice and to create a world worth living in for future generations.

Resilience to disasters

Strengthening the resilience of communities to natural disasters and other crises is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of people. This requires a holistic approach that includes the development of robust infrastructures and the implementation of appropriate early warning systems.

Robust infrastructures play a crucial role in minimizing the impact of disasters. This includes constructing resilient buildings, building flood protection systems, improving road and transportation systems and providing emergency shelter and medical care. By investing in such infrastructure, communities can be better prepared for disasters and respond to them more quickly.

Appropriate early warning systems are also essential to detect disaster risks early and save lives. This includes the development of sensors and monitoring systems to detect natural hazards such as earthquakes, storms and floods, as well as the establishment of communication networks to transmit warnings to affected communities. Timely access to information allows people to take evacuation measures and prepare for the impending crisis.

Overall, strengthening disaster resilience is an investment in the future. It helps reduce the risk of loss of life and material damage and facilitates post-disaster reconstruction. It can also strengthen the long-term resilience of communities and help them to better adapt to the increasing challenges of climate change.

What is the situation in Germany?

According to a study by the Bertelsmann Foundation, Germany occupies sixth place in the ranking of the most sustainable industrialized countries. Germany plays a particularly important role in the area of “greentech” by developing and producing technologies for environmental protection and renewable energies. Despite this progress, there is still much to be done in Germany, as the implementation of the energy and transport transition is progressing slowly and access to high-quality infrastructure is unevenly distributed.

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of fast and stable internet access. Work, commerce and social interactions have increasingly shifted to the digital space. Nevertheless, not all households and regions in Germany have access to fast broadband internet, and fiber optic connections, which are common elsewhere, are still rare in this country. Inadequate infrastructure leads to companies moving away from underserved regions, which in turn leads to population decline and unemployment. Particularly affected are 19 regions, especially in eastern Germany and the Ruhr area, which suffer from structural weakness due to a lack of infrastructure, weak economic development and population decline or migration.

In terms of research and development, Germany is one of the most innovative countries in the world. In the Bloomberg Innovation Index 2023, Germany was ranked eighth, behind Finland, Singapore and Switzerland. The Federal Statistical Office calculates the share of research and development expenditure in gross domestic product every year. In 2022, this expenditure amounted to a total of 121.4 billion euros, which corresponds to 3.1% of gross domestic product (GDP). The German government aims to increase private and public spending on research and development to at least 3.5% of GDP by 2025. An important task for Germany is to focus on sustainable innovations and green technologies and to provide countries in the Global South with access to existing knowledge and new research and development opportunities.

And internationally?

The implementation of SDG 9, which is aimed at sustainable infrastructure, requires increased infrastructure financing at a global level. Experts estimate the annual requirement at around 2.6 trillion US dollars, not only to achieve the SDGs, but also to strive for climate neutrality by 2050.

In the Global South in particular, there is great interest in industrialization and a transition to productive industries in order to secure jobs and prosperity in the long term. However, these developments in today’s industrialized countries were often associated with considerable environmental pollution. In order to make the benefits of strong industry and infrastructure accessible to the countries of the Global South, targeted promotion of innovation and research, particularly in the field of renewable energies, is crucial.

The importance of stable infrastructure was underlined once again during the Covid-19 pandemic. Access to transportation networks is necessary to reach medical facilities, as is reliable water infrastructure for hygiene measures such as hand washing. In addition, the shift of work and social life to digital has further increased the importance of internet access. The internet acts as a link between people worldwide. According to estimates by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU), 34% of the world’s population was still offline in 2022, which equates to around 2.7 billion people.

In Africa, progress is being made in the area of communication infrastructure. The proportion of the population using cell phones has risen from just under 40% in 2013 to just under 70% in 2021. This also has a positive impact on the continent’s economic growth. The sector’s average contribution to the gross domestic product of African countries has risen from 5% in 2013 to over 7% in 2020.

Increase in research and development expenditure

Increasing research and development spending is crucial to finding innovative solutions to sustainable development challenges and driving technology development. By increasing investment in research and development, we can find new ways to tackle environmental problems, use natural resources more efficiently and develop sustainable technologies.

These investments play a key role in tackling global challenges such as climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. By researching new materials, technologies and processes, we can develop more environmentally friendly alternatives and thus help to reduce the negative impact of human activities on the environment.

In addition, increased spending on research and development helps to strengthen the competitiveness of companies and economies. By promoting innovation, new products, services and business models can emerge that are not only environmentally sustainable but also economically profitable.

It is therefore crucial that governments, businesses and civil society work together to increase investment in research and development and accelerate the development and implementation of sustainable technologies. Only through a joint effort can we make the much-needed progress to ensure a sustainable future for all.


Overall, Goal 9 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is a key building block for a sustainable future. Promoting sustainable infrastructure, strengthening resilience to disasters, supporting industrialization in developing countries and increasing investment in research and development are critical to addressing global challenges and achieving inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of stable infrastructures, innovative technologies and a strong research and development base. It has shown that sustainable infrastructure not only forms the basis for economic growth and prosperity, but also strengthens the resilience of communities to crises.

To achieve the goals of Goal 9, we must act together. Governments, businesses, civil society and the international community must work together to mobilize investment, share technology, promote innovation and expand infrastructure worldwide. Only through a coordinated and holistic approach can we ensure that no one is left behind and a sustainable future for all is achieved.

The overview of the 17 goals can be read here

Overview of the 17 goals


You can find information from the United Nations on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) here:

Information from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development can be found here:

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