SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
1. EU Programmes likely to be relevant for libraries
Cohesion policy support to industry, innovation and infrastructure. Enhancing access to, and use of information and communication technologies
Under the broad theme of information & communication technologies the ERDF and EAFRD invest in a range of investment priorities and union priorities to enhance access to and use and quality of information and communication technologies (ICT). Under other themes the ESF through investment in digital literacy, education and training also contributes to human capital development.
Final Circular Economy package
On 4 March 2019, the European Commission adopted a comprehensive report on the implementation of the Circular Economy Action Plan. The report presents the main achievements under the Action Plan and sketches out future challenges to shaping our economy and paving the way towards a climate-neutral, circular economy where pressure on natural and freshwater resources as well as ecosystems is minimised. In 2015, the European Commission adopted an ambitious Circular Economy Action Plan, which includes measures that will helpstimulate Europe's transition towards a circular economy, boost global competitiveness, foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs. The EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy establishes a concrete and ambitious programme of action, with measures covering the whole cycle: from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials and a revised legislative proposal on waste. Key elements of the revised waste proposal include:
- A common EU target for recycling 65% of municipal waste by 2035;
- A common EU target for recycling 70% of packaging waste by 2030
Clean energy for all Europeans
The Commission wants the EU to lead the clean energy transition, not only adapt to it. For this reason the EU has committed to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU's economy and delivering on jobs and growth for all European citizens. The proposals have three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers.
Consumers are active and central players on the energy markets of the future. Consumers across the EU will in the future have a better choice of supply, access to reliable energy price comparison tools and the possibility to produce and sell their own electricity. Increased transparency and better regulation give more opportunities for civil society to become more involved in the energy system and respond to price signals.
The EU Biodiversity Strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU and help stop global biodiversity loss by 2020. It reflects the commitments taken by the EU in 2010, within the international Convention on Biological Diversity. On 16 December 2015, the Environmental Council adopted Conclusions on the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. On 2 February 2016, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. 6 targets are envisaged:
By 2020, the assessments of species and habitats protected by EU nature law show better conservation or a secure status for 100 % more habitats and 50 % more species.
By 2020, ecosystems and their services are maintained and enhanced by establishing green infrastructure and restoring at least 15 % of degraded ecosystems.
By 2020, the conservation of species and habitats depending on or affected by agriculture and forestry, and the provision of their ecosystem services show measurable improvements
By 2015, fishing is sustainable. By 2020, fish stocks are healthy and European seas healthier. Fishing has no significant adverse impacts on species and ecosystems.
By 2020, invasive alien species are identified, priority species controlled or eradicated, and pathways managed to prevent new invasive species from disrupting European biodiversity.
By 2020, the EU has stepped up its contribution to avert global biodiversity loss.
For the next long-term EU budget 2021-2027, the Commission proposes to further strengthen the Union’s social dimension with a new and improved European Social Fund, the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+) and a more effective European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The ESF+ Regulation will integrate the current ESF, YEI, FEAD, EaSI and the EU Health programme, with ESF being complementary to other funds (such as the EGF, Erasmus, AMIF, ERDF, RSP, InvestEU).
A network of healthy ecosystems often provides cost-effective alternatives to traditional 'grey' infrastructure and offers many other benefits for both EU citizens and biodiversity. Green infrastructure is a strategically planned network of natural and semi-natural areas with other environmental features designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services such as water purification, air quality, space for recreation and climate mitigation and adaptation. This network of green (land) and blue (water) spaces can improve environmental conditions and therefore citizens' health and quality of life. It also supports a green economy, creates job opportunities and enhances biodiversity. The Natura 2000 network constitutes the backbone of the EU green infrastructure. The European Commission has developed a Green Infrastructure Strategy. This strategy aims to ensure that the protection, restoration, creation and enhancement of green infrastructure become an integral part of spatial planning and territorial development whenever it offers a better alternative, or is complementary, to standard grey choices.
Adaptation to climate change
Adaptation means anticipating the adverse effects of climate change and taking appropriate action to prevent or minimise the damage they can cause, or taking advantage of opportunities that may arise. It has been shown that well planned, early adaptation action saves money and lives later. Examples of adaptation measures include: using scarce water resources more efficiently; adapting building codes to future climate conditions and extreme weather events; building flood defences and raising the levels of dykes; developing drought-tolerant crops; choosing tree species and forestry practices less vulnerable to storms and fires; and setting aside land corridors to help species migrate.
The EU Aviation Strategy aims to improve the environmental impact of aviation. Aviation needs to develop in a sustainable way of reducing its environmental footprint and contributing to the fight against climate change. In this respect, a number of actions are being taken:
- Publication of "European Aviation Environmental Report " tracking the environmental performance of the EU's air transport sector.
- Working with the ICAO to develop a Global Market Based Mechanism (GMBM) to address CO2 emissions.
- Supporting Research & Development actions for innovative "green" technologies.
- Completing the Single European Sky. Performance of ATM must be improved in terms of environmental objectives (including noise reduction and emissions) and regulatory work to tackle this is ongoing.
- Mandates for bilateral and comprehensive aviation agreements with key foreign partners of the EU, which should help promote green policies with respect to aviation worldwide.
Waste prevention and management
The average European citizen generates around 5 tonnes of waste, of which only a limited share (39% for 2014 with a total EU waste production of 2,6 billion tonnes) is recycled. Much of the rest still ends up in landfills or incinerators.
Europe can simply not afford to continue this practice and waste an essential opportunity to improve its resource efficiency. The EU Waste Framework Directive has two key objectives: to prevent and reduce the negative impacts caused by the generation and management of waste and to improve resource efficiency. The Directive defines a 'hierarchy' to be applied by EU Member States in waste management. Waste prevention and re-use are the most preferred options, followed by recycling (including composting), then energy recovery, while waste disposal through landfills should be the very last resort.
Embedding means that SSH can make their contribution where they are most needed. Integrating the socio-economic dimension into the design, development and implementation of research itself, and of new technologies can help find solutions to societal issues.
Topics like competitiveness, climate change, energy security or public health are complex and multi-faceted and need to be thout across disciplines. Indeed, the idea to focus Horizon 2020 around "Challenges" rather than disciplinary fields of research illustrates this new approach. It represents a twin opportunity for the social sciences and humanities. Firstly, SSH research embedding throughout the whole programme will open up new areas of research; secondly, it will enhance top class research through the European Research Council.
The strength of the European science and technology system depends on its capacity to harness talent and ideas from wherever they exist. Rapid advances in contemporary scientific research and innovation have led to the rise of important ethical, legal and social issues that affect the relationship between science and society. Public investment in science requires a vast social and political constituency sharing the values of science, educated and engaged in its processes and able to recognise its contributions to knowledge, society and economic progress.
Through this programme, EU also supports new ways to interest young people in science and in research careers, and new ways to achieve greater gender equality in science.
2. Library Policies and Best Practices
Maker Faires, the social events sprouting engineering-oriented pursuits organized by the Make magazine, are often organized in libraries. The National Library of Norway started working on Artificial Intelligence schemes; this makes citizens familiar with new technologies against any neo-luddite inclinations.
Libraries should become a permanent infrastructure encouraging innovation in a social context. This model of “social” library should be established in collaboration with advanced institutes and technological centres. “Digital Skills for SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) in Bulgaria” is an educational project where the regional libraries of Plovdiv, Smolyan and Stara Zagora districts become third place and offer equal access to information and communication, lifelong learning, collaboration with SME workers and their families. Two aspects raise the profile of this project. The first is that libraries work in partnership with the Bulgarian Union of Small and Medium Enterprises; the second is that the project is funded by the 2014-2020 European Social Fund, one of the European Structural and Investment Funds.
And finally, mention should be made again of the Lithuanian initiative of producing 3D printed face shields for healthcare workers – resulting from collaboration with the Lithuanian Robotics School.
3. Opportunities for library funding
This Chapter refers to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2021-2027, and in particular to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund+ (ESF).
In order to make the most out of these Funds, first refer to the ESIF managing authorities, which are different in every Member State and are responsible for national operational programmes and policies. The list of national authorities, country after country, and region after region, is available at the following link, https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/managing-authorities/.
In the Table(s) below, for each ESIF objective: Column 1 designates the ERDF or ESF+ specific objective. Column 2 and 3 set, respectively, the related outputs and results indicated by ESIF official documents. It can be easily inferred that European Commission criteria for evaluation are quite general and do not get into the detail of the programmes. It is up to Member States to set additional criteria for evaluation.
Finally, Column 4 lists examples of library projects set up to pursue ESIF objectives or to attain specific Sustainable Development Goals. ESIF-funded and SDG-oriented library projects are matched with specific ESIF 2021-2027 objectives and sub-objectives; what is shown in the table, however, is a simulation: under which presumed ESIF specific objective could SDG-oriented library projects have been funded, if they were to be presented within the ESIF 2021-2027 framework?
More detailed information on the Library Projects listed in Column 5 can be found in the Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries - First European Report.
4. Main Eurostat Indicators
Key trends in “Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure” show the following evidence (Eurostat Report, pp. 183 and ss):
- More investment in R&D needed to meet the Europe 2020 target;
- Private expenditure accounts for almost two-thirds of total R&D expenditure;
- The business sector is the largest source of R&D investment across Member States;
- The EU strives to provide the necessary human capital for a knowledge-based society;
- Women remain underrepresented in the R&D sector, but are overrepresented in knowledge-intensive jobs;
- Signs of passenger transport becoming more sustainable over the past few years
- The EU’s freight transport system still relies on road transport;
- Availability of infrastructure is an important factor in the choice of freight transport mode.
Goal 9’s attainment is monitored through the following main indicators: Source: EU SDG Indicator set 2020:
5. Library Indicators
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Library Indicators enabling the evaluation of library performances and how they can match SDG indicators.
"Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation"
SDG 9 calls on countries to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income and allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people. Research and development (R&D) and innovation drive economic growth, job creation, labour productivity and resource efficiency. They are crucial for a knowledge-based economy and to ensuring EU companies remain competitive. Similarly, investments in sustainable and energyefficient transport and mobility systems are key elements for achieving sustainable development.
The Europe 2020 Strategy for growth and jobs sets investing at least 3% of the EU's GDP in R&D as one of its targets. Horizon 2020 is the financial instrument implementing the Innovation Union, with nearly EUR 80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. In the same period, the EU Cohesion Policy earmarks funding for innovation, SMEs' competitiveness, better and more sustainable transport – including a shift towards low-carbon systems – and smart energy grids.
The EU’s Trans-European Networks policy links regional and national infrastructure to create interconnected and inter-operational infrastructure systems for transport, energy and ICT. The renewed industrial policy strategy brings together all existing and new horizontal and sector-specific initiatives into a comprehensive plan to empower citizens, revitalise regions and provide the best technologies.
Targets and Indicators: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg9
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