Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Roles and responsibilities

Below is a brief overview of the different roles and responsibilities for global SDG monitoring and reporting, including details on how country data will be shared at the global level.

Data flow in SDG reporting, highlighting the central role of the national statistical system (illustration adapted from IAEG-SDG).

Countries

Countries are the centre and starting point for all monitoring and oversee national monitoring via their national statistical system. The national statistical system comprises the National Statistical Office, line ministries and other national institutions involved in monitoring.

It is up to the countries themselves to decide on the level of detail of data and metadata they wish to share with the custodian agencies, and to what extent these should be published. The minimum requirement is one national aggregate per indicator, however, by sharing more detail on the subcomponents of the indicators and the monitoring methods, and at a higher level of disaggregation, the data will be more credible and useful for different audiences.

The SDG global indicators only represent a subset of the full suite of indicators monitored in a country. Countries are welcome to share additional relevant data sets with the custodian agencies and directly with the HLPF, through their voluntary national reporting, for example.

Regional mechanisms

Regional mechanisms may, as appropriate, facilitate the transmission of data and metadata from the national to the global level. Regional mechanisms also have an important role to play in knowledge exchange and capacity-building within the specific region, focusing on regionally important issues.

UN Statistics Division

UNSD will make regional and global aggregates and country data and metadata available on the SDG Indicators Global Database. The data will also be incorporated into the annual SDG progress reports, to inform follow-up and review at the HLPF. Although the database will mainly focus on the SDG global indicators, supporting data sets may be published, as appropriate.

UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6

UN-Water and the Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 bring together the custodian agencies for all SDG 6 indicators and coordinate their efforts, so as to better support countries in monitoring SDG 6 in an integrated manner, with a strong focus on the institutional aspects of monitoring and the intersectoral nature of water and sanitation.

Countries are the centre and starting point for all monitoring. Photo credit: Tom Page, Creative Commons Attribution

Country data compiled and verified by the custodian agencies will be published by UN-Water in an SDG 6 data portal, to enable a comprehensive assessment and analysis of the overall state of water and sanitation and progress towards SDG 6.

Custodian agencies

Custodian agencies are United Nations bodies (and in some cases, other international organizations) responsible for compiling and verifying country data and metadata, and for submitting the data, along with regional and global aggregates, to the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD). These agencies may publish the country data in their own databases and use it for thematic reporting. The country data need to be internationally comparable. To this end, the agencies are also responsible for developing international standards and recommending methodologies for monitoring.

Another central responsibility of the custodian agencies is to strengthen national monitoring and reporting capacity. When country data are missing, collected using a different methodology or inconsistently reported by different sources, agencies may need to do estimates or adjust the data together with the specific countries. All final data to be submitted to UNSD will first be validated and approved by countries.

In many cases, the SDG global indicators only represent a fraction of the custodian agencies’ respective monitoring focus and global data sets. For example, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) regularly compiles country data on roughly 100 water resource-related parameters, including those necessary to compute SDG indicator 6.4.1 and 6.4.2, and SDG indicator 6.5.2 is one of multiple components under the reporting towards the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes.