SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – An Update

Dear Mankind and most favoured of my children

You will recall my earliest blogs ( mother Earth blogs ) welcomed the Global initiative to develop the Sustainable Development Goals ( SDGs) to help create a safer and fairer world and I was happy that mankind had at last understood the need to live more sustainably and harmoniously with other living things on this, our only, home. Some good progress was starting to be being made in some areas but sadly most of this encouraging activity was brought to an abrupt halt or in some cases, even reversed by the COVID 19 Pandemic.

This blog on SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure is the next in a series of updates to review the effects of the COVID 19 Pandemic on the aspirations and targets of each of the original 17 SDGS and to look ahead to the prospects in each sector.

The Pandemic has had an unprecedented economic and human toll on Human societies around the world and has disrupted economic activities worldwide. Global manufacturing because of trade tensions was already under strain. The Pandemic and resulting restrictions on movement of people and goods catastrophically disrupted supply chains causing huge problems for all industries and especially small businesses. Manufacturing around the world slumped with particularly devastating impacts on small industrial enterprises and businesses around the world.

In the richer societies air passenger numbers dropped from 4.5 billion in 2019 to 1.8 billion in 2020 ( a 60% decline ) and jobs supporting air industry fell by 52.5% from 87.7 million to 41.7 million with further job losses and economic impacts in the sectors dependent on tourism and related hospitality industries. May other industries also suffered and more and more persons started working from home causing huge income losses to the small businesses providing services to commuters and office workers. Governments in industrialised countries were able to provide some temporary financial support for workers and businesses to help them manage during the pandemic .

Sadly the situation in the developing world was very different as governments could not afford to provide a financial safety net or support for their citizens so the poorest, already facing so many problems were again the worst affected by the Pandemic. For example , research has shown that 300 million out of 520 million rural dwellers do not have access to all weather roads. Reliable rural roads connecting health and education facilities and enabling farmers and their families to get access to education and health services and to get their goods to market have a huge impact on their health and prevention of poverty . This remains an issue of greatest need of attention once the world begins to recover from the pandemic. Access to internet remains a great need in the developing world. Between 2015 -2020, Global 4G coverage double but most of this was in the industrialised world and even though 51% of world population were able to use the internet by 2019 , this still left 3.7 billion persons without access to internet. The penetration of internet in developing countries is still very limited and in the least developed countries only 1 person in 5 is online.

Mother Earth
Sources : The Sustainable Development Goals Reports 2019 -2021 , United nations, New York

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