Sustainable Infrastructure for Better Lives

As the COVID-19 pandemic has put global economies and finances under pressure the challenge of filling infrastructure gaps will increase in many countries. The virus outbreak forced governments to focus on immediate needs such as improved health-care capacities, improved access to online state services, and support for an internet connection to households, etc.
The overall infrastructure is crucial to building inclusive societies as better infrastructure provides people the opportunities to lead a fulfilling life.

From basic to specific infrastructure for sustainable development

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

Industries, innovation, and infrastructure are key to economic development. The pandemic made people understand how access to public transport and communication can impact their lives and how it can be improved to mitigate issues such as poor health caused by a sedentary lifestyle, air pollution, and emissions. At the same time, it made them think about those who lack basic infrastructures such as transport, energy, waste management, water supply, and communication. Hence actions, businesses, and projects that support the achievement of Goal 9, also contribute to achieving other goals.

Infrastructure and SDG 1, SDG 7, SDG 12

As it was mentioned above economic growth, employment, and income opportunities are key to the socio-economic development or rural and vulnerable communities. Improved infrastructure makes this possible by providing access and connection to markets and increased productivity. Intervention in roads, irrigation systems, and renewable energy resources empower local farmers and non-farmers and therefore, create more jobs and real income and access to technology and innovations. All these help to reduce economic inequality.
Fact: 13% of the global population still lacks access to modern electricity.
Target 7.B By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and land-locked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programs of support

SDG 12
Fact: More than 1 billion people still do not have access to freshwater.
Target 12.2 By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources

Infrastructure and SDG 2

Sustainable infrastructure supports productive agricultural practices. According to the UN, an estimated 821 million people in the world suffer from hunger in 2018, and hunger and malnourishment are the biggest risks to health greater than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. The Zero Hunger Challenge launched in 2012 among other calls for sustainable infrastructure solutions such as
Sustainable food systems
100% increase in smallholder productivity and income
Doubling the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers;
Increasing investment in agriculture;

Moreover, the UN highlights that in terms of economic development
Least developed countries have immense potential for industrialization in food and beverages (agro-industry), and textiles and garments, with good prospects for sustained employment generation and higher productivity.

Middle-income countries can benefit from entering the basic and fabricated metals industries, which offer a range of products facing rapidly growing international demand

In developing countries, barely 30 percent of agricultural production undergoes industrial processing. In high-income countries, 98 percent is processed. This suggests that there are great opportunities for developing countries in agribusiness.

Infrastructure and SDG 11, SDG 3, SDG 6

Sustainable infrastructure is at the core of sustainable cities and communities. However, facts confirm that 883 million people live in slums today and most of them are found in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. Meanwhile, urbanization is putting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health. All the targets of Goal 11 rely on sustainable infrastructure.

Target 3.D Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction, and management of national and global health risks.

Fact: 1 in 4 health care facilities lacks basic water services
Target 6.1 By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all

All the above shows how much the SDGs are intertwined with each other. If one target marks progress, many other targets will make progress too. Anyone can make a contribution to building better communities. Improved infrastructure requires coordination between local actors and state institutions.
Do you have any idea how to increase the role of citizens in sustainable infrastructure?
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OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2019-2028


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