The development and social and economic prosperity of a territory is based on a system of consolidated infrastructures. A system in constant revision and modernization that places the territories, the country in short, at the forefront.
Research, development and innovation must be the three pillars on which SDG 9 is based and which must lead us to an economic transition away from a voracious, outdated and disruptive model of unlimited, unjust and ecocide exponential growth. A transition towards sustainable and decarbonized growth that guarantees the demand for services, jobs and income without exclusion, while emphasizing growth and a model that minimizes environmental impacts and protects the planet and its resources.
Electricity grids, sanitation and access to drinking water go beyond mere infrastructure and should be considered almost as fundamental rights of any person.
Like these, at the same time, communication and transport infrastructures are vital for both citizens and territories to achieve the necessary development. The road network and access to the Internet and mobile communications, as well as the aforementioned electricity and water networks, must be the basis for this basic development for any person and territory.
It is absolutely essential that the different governments and supranational organizations clearly and sufficiently dedicate a substantial part of their GDP to this development, which must lead to permanent and resilient solutions to the economic and environmental challenges resulting from the current model.
This change towards a new model requires a new type of industrialization that, supported by innovation, becomes the necessary engine of change and economic development. A development and growth that generates jobs and entrepreneurship in key sectors such as renewable energies, one of the seeds of the change of model, or mobility, which has so much impact on the environment.
As stated by the Global Compact, SDG 9 aims to achieve sustainable, resilient and quality infrastructure for all, promote a new industry under sustainability criteria that adopts clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, foster technology, innovation and research, and achieve equal access to information and knowledge, mainly through the Internet.
In other words, we have to reverse the current model, a model that in developing countries, where income is limited, this lack of investment in this infrastructure model is reducing productivity by approximately 40%. A model where more than half of the planet still does not have access to the internet, 90% of these people in developing countries. Or something we have already talked about in this series of articles, such as the fact that 2.3 billion people lack access to basic sanitation and almost 800 million people lack access to drinking water, or the fact that 2.6 billion people in developing countries do not have permanent access to electricity. All these figures are from the United Nations Development Program.
The goals, therefore, of this SDG Nº9, should begin with:
Providing countries and people with equitable and affordable national and international infrastructures that favor economic development and well-being. One of them must be the creation of an industry based on the principles of sustainability and inclusion. This strengthening of the productive system must be supported by a financial policy that facilitates credit in order to facilitate market inclusion.
Poor or developing countries must be the real protagonists of this change, benefiting from this investment that will lead to the modernization of their infrastructures and industry. Rich countries must stop being a brake. We must abandon the imperialist position of plundering and exploiting these countries and their resources in order to embrace their development.
This reversal of the model, especially as far as industrialization is concerned, must undoubtedly, as we have already emphasized, be carried out under the postulates of sustainability. In the words of the United Nations, there must be an “adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes“. Promoting scientific research and fostering technological improvement processes that lead to the optimization of the industrial sector and ultimately result in a new economic force that generates new technologies, facilitates international trade and enables the efficient use of resources. All this effort must be rewarded with the creation of new quality jobs, especially in sectors such as research.
To achieve this, governance must provide the necessary regulatory means to create a breeding ground for the development of sustainable, fair and equitable innovation and infrastructure.
Equality, inclusiveness, sustainability, resilience are fundamental values that should inspire this change that leaves behind this model and its inequalities to embrace one that involves overcoming all these limitations to provide society and the planet with a system of social and environmental economic structures that on the one hand protects all people and their needs and on the other manages and protects the planet and its resources, thus providing a model with a present and a future.