Revista Retratos

SDG 9: investing in industry, innovation and infrastructure

Section: Retratos Magazine | Eduardo Peret | Design: Licia Rubinstein

March 14, 2019 02h04 PM | Last Updated: March 15, 2019 11h54 AM

The Sustainable Development Goal - SDG 9 is related to the construction of infrastructure, based on industry and innovation and forming a tripod in which each pillar depends on each other. It deals with specific themes which, seen separately, could convey the impression that an outdated paradigm is being reproduced – the paradigm of mere industrialization, of the infrastructure on its own – and it is not the case. Industrialization and the search for innovation should be thought in the context of economic, institutional, environmental and social sustainability, as explained by Flávio Peixoto, an IBGE´s economist.

Retratos Magazine: What stands out in SDG 9?

Flávio Peixoto: Firstly, the connection with the other goals, especially the social and environmental ones. It is important to think about this Goal coupled with the others, in order to understand that the idea is to industrialize and innovate in a sustainable way, and not to the detriment of the environment and society.

Retratos: What are the sources of information for the indicators?

Flávio Peixoto: In addition to the IBGE, we have partnerships with Anatel, the Energy Research Office - EPE, CNPq, Capes and the Ministries of Science and Technology, Transportation, Mines and Energy and Foreign Relations. We are also negotiating with the Central Bank and Federal Revenue in order to access some data.

Retratos: Which indicators do we already have?

Flávio Peixoto: SDG 9 is one of the most complete goals in terms of availability of indicators, many of them already published in the platform and with regional data.

Retratos: Can you give some examples?

Flávio Peixoto: Target 9.2 has an indicator of employment in industry in proportion to the total employment, which is already published. In target 9.5, related to innovation, the indicator of expenditures in Research and Development in proportion to the GDP is already released. The platform has also figures on full-time researchers, which were obtained merging the data from the CNPq and Capes databases with IBGE data, by means of the Survey of Innovation, of which I am the manager. Everything is in the platform.

Retratos: And which indicators are not ready yet?

Flávio Peixoto: Some targets show methodological problems. For instance, the indicator that is related to the proportion of the rural population that lives within 2 km of an all-season road. This indicator has neither data nor a proposed international methodology. We still need to define the concept of "all-season road", check whether it is related only to roads or to other thoroughfares. For instance, there are roads in Canada that are always closed in the winter due to the snow. Here in Brazil we think in terms of the Amazon and Central-West, areas that are flooded part of the year. And we also have rural areas exclusively accessed by river, so there is not a "road", but they are accessed. Target 9.3 mentions "small-scale industries". We also have a problem with this concept, because the definition changes with the structure of each country. We have the most common definition, which is by range of employed persons, yet we do not define what "small scale" is. However, thinking about revenue changes everything. There can be enterprises with few employed persons and a very high revenue.

Retratos: Are there other challenges related to this SDG?

Flávio Peixoto: Some indicators are fully raised by other institutions or in some cases we depend on an external database. In these cases, we need to continuously negotiate with these instances, in order to meet the deadlines.

Interview published in Retratos Magazine no. 16.