SDG 9: INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Have you used the internet today? Logged on to Facebook? Watched a YouTube video? Googled a word you didn’t know and instantly found its definition? If so, then you are part of the 3.4 billion out of a 7.4 billion world population that has access to the internet. It may even surprise you to know that 4 billion people still do not have access to the internet, with 90% of this number of people being from developing countries.
With more than 50% of the World’s population now residing in urban areas, and ever growing strains that mass movement has brought, it is imperative that sustainable solutions are employed so economic growth and development thrives in these areas. By employing solutions riding on technological advances in high population density areas, economic and environmental challenges such as new employment opportunities and the promotion of energy efficiency appliances, long-lasting solutions are found. It is important to employ this Sustainable Development Goal into action so better planning, adapting, and mitigation efforts to reduce risks, hazards, and disasters can be undertaken to keep the effects Climate Change from severely affecting our lives.
A good example of this SDG in practice is in early warning systems through the use of technology which saved many lives in the Japan tsunami in early 2011. By investing in infrastructure improvements in river basins for flood protection as is the case in Bosnia’s and Herzegovina’s Vrbas river basin; lives, material goods and livelihoods can be spared from impending disaster as the effects of Climate Change are felt around the world stronger than ever before since concentrated populations of people are living in urban areas. By employing innovative climate modelling techniques, we have become better prepared to plan for the future, as we can now predict with precision, which areas are most likely to be affected by the effects of Climate Change. With this information we can then apply suitable mitigation and adaptation efforts which will protect livelihoods, property, and life. An example relating to industry within this Sustainable Development Goal can be found in the remote, mountainous communities in Laos, where 63% of the population reside, and where basic education has yet to reach many communities. Through a community radio broadcasting service, education programs are aired, reaching more than 45,000 people who would otherwise not receive any education, which would exacerbate poverty in the region. Such a programme has resulted in vast changes of increased rates of vaccination against diseases, increased use of health facilities by women, and improved disaster readiness and recovery.
The Seychelles has made commitments to the international community to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into its government to better the lives of its people. In the context of the industry, innovation, and infrastructure goal, a good example is the establishment of the ‘Disaster, Risk, and Management Division’ to help manage and coordinate support, relief and warning systems for the country in innovative technological ways. Another example is the use of tried and tested adaptation techniques around areas of high risk from the effects of Climate Change, such as along coastal regions to protect people’s property and livelihoods. A third example of innovative infrastructure is the building of desalination plants on Mahe to ensure the population has a supply of potable water in periods of severe drought. Not only has the Seychelles invested in infrastructure technologies, but also in the industry present in Seychelles; promoting sustainable fishing practices amongst fishermen, sustainable farming practices amongst the farmers on the island, and having tax-free renewable energy products, encouraging the renewable energy industry to grow in the Seychelles.
As a young member of society, I am grateful to be living in a country that has pledged its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, bettering the lives of its citizens, and feel privileged to be able to help contribute to the development of these goals as a member of society.
You can make a difference and contribute to this Sustainable Development Goal by abandoning unsustainable practices and striving towards sustainable ones. This requires a change in the way we think about the world today. The world will not last forever, and neither will you, or me. But everyone makes an effort to keep on living and to stay healthy so we can live for a longer amount of time, right? This is the same principle we need to adopt to look after our planet. In Seychelles we are fortunate enough to have access to free education for all. We are only hurting ourselves when we let the opportunities around us slip away. By educating ourselves today, we will become the innovators and industry revolutionists of tomorrow. Make a stand and help yourself today for the future of the world tomorrow.
(Contributed by Sophie Morgan)