Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

National action

Translating global goals and targets to national action

The 2030 Agenda defines the 17 SDGs and their respective 169 targets as global and aspirational. It also specifies that each country should set their own national targets, inspired by the global ambition but taking into account their specific circumstances.

National circumstances may refer to a country’s available resources and existing capacity, or to national priorities and the urgency of different issues. For example, a water-scarce country may prioritize working on water-use efficiency, water reuse and water recycling (6.3 and 6.4), while a country suffering from severe water pollution may focus their efforts on improving sanitation and wastewater treatment (6.2 and 6.3).

Some of the global targets specify a quantitative level, for example, “universal” access to drinking water (6.1) or “halving” the proportion of untreated wastewater (6.3). Other targets are less specific, for example, seeking to “substantially reduce” the number of people suffering from water scarcity (6.4) or to “protect and restore” water-related ecosystems (6.6), without quantifying to what extent these should be reduced, protected or restored.

In both cases, it is up to the countries themselves to quantify their national targets.

What does SDG 6 look like in your country? Photo credit: Jojo Nicdao, Creative Commons Attribution