New report assessing progress on the targets of SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) that relate to industrialisation

UNIDO has published a report that assesses the progress on the targets of SDG 9. Nathalie Risse explains in an article on the e SDG Knowledge Hub website of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD).


UNIDO Charts Progress on Six SDG Indicators for Industrialization

The UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) released a report assessing progress on the targets of SDG 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) that relate to industrialization. The authors stress the need for investment in technology upgrading, skills development and institutional capabilities to achieve sustainable industrial development.

The report titled, ‘Statistical Indicators of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization,’ covers manufacturing production and employment, small-scale industries, environmental sustainability, and technology upgrading. The indicators correspond to the following four targets:

  • SDG target 9.2 (promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product);
  • SDG target 9.3 (increase the access of small-scale industrial and other enterprises, in particular in developing countries, to financial services);
  • SDG target 9.4 (by 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable); and
  • SDG target 9.b (support domestic technology development, research and innovation in developing countries).

Among its observations, the report indicates that the total number of manufacturing jobs has continued to increase globally, but the pace of growth has slowed due to the process of structural transformation. It also reports that over two million jobs are expected to be created in the electrical machinery industry, related to the production of electric vehicles and the generation of electricity from renewables.

The authors note that small-scale industries represent the backbone of industrial development in developing countries. However, they face a significant challenge in accessing financial services for “everyday business activities.”

On environmental sustainability, the report states that:

  • Manufacturing accounts for around 18% of total global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fuel combustion;
  • Manufacturing industries are continually reducing their emission levels as countries industrialize, and in relative terms, the intensity of CO2 emissions from manufacturing industries declined in all country groups in the period of 2000-2015;
  • A relatively low rate of CO2 emissions per unit of manufacturing value added (MVA) is found in industrialized economies as they have implemented more efficient technologies for burning fuel, while developing and emerging industrial economies emit the highest amount of CO2 emissions. By contrast, LDCs produce a relatively low amount of emissions because their volume of manufacturing production is not as extensive as in other developing countries.

On industrial diversification through technology, the report finds that globally, the production of medium high- and high-technology products increased from 42.1% in 2005 to 44.8% in 2015. It adds that medium high- and high-technology products continue to dominate manufacturing production in industrialized economies, and developing and emerging industrial economies are “catching up quickly.”

UNIDO serves as the custodian agency for six indicators listed under Goal 9: indicators 9.2.1, 9.2.2, 9.3.1, 9.3.2, 9.4.1 and 9.b.1. In this role, the Organization is responsible for, inter alia: compiling international data series, calculating global and regional aggregates and providing them to the UN Statistics Division; preparing the storyline for the annual SDG global progress report; and coordinating indicator development with national statistical systems, other international agencies and stakeholders.

UNIDO has published country data for each indicator covered by the report. [Publication: Statistical Indicators of Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization: Biennial Progress Report 2019] [Country data for each indicator covered by the report]

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