Steps of progressive monitoring (the monitoring ladder)
To enable Member States to begin monitoring efforts at a level in line with their national capacity and available resources, there is also a need for flexible methodologies, for which the concept of progressive monitoring steps is useful.
With this approach, countries can start monitoring SDG 6 indicators with more simple resource-efficient methodologies, based on alternative data sources such as earth observations, by using proxy data combined with qualitative estimations, or by monitoring a limited number of parameters, with limited frequency, at a limited number of sites.
As country capacity and resources increase, they can progressively adopt more advanced and accurate monitoring methodologies, such as direct measurements in the field, allowing for better disaggregated data.
Example - Steps of progressive monitoring for global indicator 6.3.2 on ambient water quality
Step 1 Countries can start by monitoring the five core water quality parameters (of which most are simple and inexpensive to measure).
Step 2 As resource availability and capacity improves, countries can add more sampling stations and do more frequent samplings (improved spatial and temporal resolutions), which allows for more robust analysis, and also add more water quality parameters.
Step 3 As the monitoring system matures, countries can further improve their spatial and temporal resolution, and add more water quality parameters (such as emerging pollutants) as well as considerations of overall ecosystem health.