What is needed to implement SDG 6 monitoring at country level?

To take stock of the pilot testing of the draft monitoring methodologies for SDG 6 global indicators, a «work-in-progress» workshop was held in Delft, the Netherlands in September 2016, gathering representatives from five pilot countries – Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal and Uganda – to share their experiences from testing and implementing SDG 6 monitoring. You can learn more about the workshop and its main conclusions here.

The workshop included a so-called World Cafe, where a number of pressing issues linked to the implementation of SDG 6 monitoring were discussed, including questions about political support, data for policy- and decision-making, intersectoral communication and collaboration, as well as technical support needed.

These important issues are of relevance to any country implementing SDG 6 monitoring – the main points raised are summarized below, and we would also encourage other countries to share their thoughts by commenting on this post.  

One of the main conclusions from the workshop was the importance of strong political support for monitoring:

How can we build political support for monitoring?

  • Provide economic incentives, highlight opportunities to improve decision-making through monitoring
  • Clear communication with regard to the methodologies and process, to ensure that countries’ expectations match the reality; explain the role of global vis-à-vis national indicators  
  • Clarify how the data will be used, where it will be published, in what detail
  • Build on existing structures within countries and strengthen national governance structures
  • Develop the ladder approach and emphasise this option more, to reduce the monitoring burden on countries

The pilot countries stressed the usefulness of bringing stakeholders from across sectors together to part-take in the monitoring process:

How can communication across different ministries and institutions be established?      

  • The SDG approach should be an integrated one, both in terms of implementation as well as monitoring; important to acknowledge that SDG 6 is connected to other SDGs
  • Need to build on existing structures and facilitate interministerial exchange within countries
  • Monitoring SDG 6 indicators involves many stakeholders, and the first step is to map out who they are and get them involved; important to identify champions in the different sectors to facilitate cooperation
  • The SDG framework needs to align with existing policies at the country level if to succeed; monitoring should be connected to policy- and decision-making

The purpose of data is to inform and improve policy- and decision-making at all levels:

How can we collect data that are as useful as possible for policy? 

  • The SDGs guide policy-making, and monitoring should facilitate policy decisions; a good understanding of the indicators and associated data is key  
  • Disaggregation of data is key to policy-making – knowing more specifically where, when, how and by whom action is needed
  • Capacity building efforts are needed throughout the process to reinforce national institutions; this can be facilitated by twinning and exchanges among countries; a critical mass of capacitated people is essential for resilience
  • Intersectional communication needs to take place within countries but also at the global level; intersectoral monitoring supports intersectoral cooperation also in management

What technical support do countries need in order to establish a data baseline for the SDG 6 indicators?

  • Helpdesk where countries can exchange information with each other and ask questions to experts; access to data, information and experience from across countries, for example best practices from GEMI pilot countries
  • Improved monitoring guide and step-by-step methodologies
  • Workshops for countries – important with face-to-face opportunities to exchange views and experiences
  • Additional in-country support from international experts
  • Prepare the GEMI pilot countries so that they can be regional advocates and experts for SDG 6 monitoring