Building on the Millennium Development Goals, the UN Sustainable Development Goals are the cornerstone of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, billed by the UN as “An Agenda of unprecedented scope and significance.” The seventeen ambitious goals, which are intended to be reached by 2030, are conceived as integrated, indivisible, and as balancing the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. They are organized around five core pillars:
• people: ending poverty and hunger and ensuring that all human beings can lead fulfilling lives in a healthy and dignified environment
• planet: protecting the environment while ensuring sustainable use and management of natural resources
• prosperity: ensuring environmentally sustainable economic growth, mutual prosperity, and decent work for all
• peace: building societies that are peaceful, just and inclusive, and in which human rights and gender equality are respected
• partnership: strengthening global solidarity to address inequalities within and between countries, by focusing on the needs of the most vulnerable.
This Research Topic addresses the ninth Sustainable Development Goal, which is to “Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.” Progress toward this goal is measured by a number of individual targets and indicators
As highlighted in the UN’s most recent SDG progress report, the manufacturing sector, which had already seen the slowest year-on-year growth rate since 2012, was hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. This led to a global drop in manufacturing production of 8.4 per cent in 2020. Alongside job losses and declining income for workers, the pandemic has significantly disrupted global supply chains and severely affected small-scale industries. Less technology-intensive industries have also taken longer to recover than medium and high-technology industries, such as the pharmaceutical, computer, electronics and automotive sectors.
The UN nonetheless notes that the crisis offers the opportunity to foster industrialization and improve the global distribution of groundbreaking technologies. In emerging from the pandemic, it highlights key areas of focus, including continuing to expand mobile broadband networks, increasing R&D investment, and improving rural road connectivity.
This Research Topic will address the ninth sustainable development goal from a communication-specific perspective. It will not only enquire into its global promulgation and into individual local, national and international communication programs in support of it, but will also consider the framing and elaboration of the goal, its adaptation to particular geographical contexts, stakeholder involvement in it, and media reporting on it.
Given the global setbacks to the industrial and transport sectors resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s edition of the Research Topic will focus particularly on the challenges and complexities of industrial development in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.