Social equality and economic prosperity depend on investments in infrastructure. But even basic services such as electricity, sanitation, and water remain out of reach for billions of people, creating barriers to the industrial and technological progress that drive developing country success. Building sustainable resource value chains and closing gaps in vital sectors such as agricultural processing will require the freedom to innovate that only robust infrastructure can provide.
UNU focuses on strengthening development linkages that catalyse innovation, foster equal resource benefits, and build resilient urban systems. Our research at the roots of industrial production charts policy options to help transform resource extraction sectors into engines of sustainable economic growth. Our work in cities is helping to ensure that rapid urban expansion can mitigate risks from climate change, and provide safe housing and a secure network of services for all.
“Industry is an essential driver of sustainable development. But in developing economies, firms need more innovation and stronger technological capabilities. My research at UNU strives to promote these firms’ efforts to benefit from global value chains, and to boost innovation in developing countries.”
“Unsustainable consumption and production are closely connected to gender inequalities. My goal at UNU is to develop gender-responsive approaches to education that cultivate equal partnerships between women and men and advance sustainable consumption and production.”
While it has historically lagged behind in the field of science and innovation, Latin America is now closing the gap with other regions in terms of scientific performance. This project examines this recent phenomenon by analysing the characteristics of the region’s research organisations and their collaboration networks with the private sector.
From the iron ore mines in Brazil to Chile’s copper reserves, Latin America’s mining sector has the potential to become an engine of dynamic and sustainable development. This project maps out ways in which policies can maximise innovation and trigger positive structural change to transform the region’s mining industry as a driver for development.
Growth based exclusively on natural resources — such as oil, gas, and minerals — is often a ‘curse’ rather than a ‘blessing’ for developing countries as it lacks opportunities for including the poor. The project aims to find ways in which resource wealth could be managed more successfully in developing countries.