Presenting target 6.6 on ecosystems

“By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes”

Scientific studies show that 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900; measured against 1700, an estimated 87% have been lost. Source: Ramsar Fact Sheet 1 (Wetlands: why should I care?). (Photo credit: Guillen Perez, Creative Commons Attribution)

Scientific studies show that 64% of the world’s wetlands have disappeared since 1900; measured against 1700, an estimated 87% have been lost. Source: Ramsar Fact Sheet 1 (Wetlands: why should I care?). (Photo credit: Guillen Perez, Creative Commons Attribution)

What is target 6.6 about?

Water-related ecosystems ultimately answer for the provision of water services to society, and are important for improving water quantity (because they can capture and store water) and water quality (because they can decompose and/or absorb water pollutants). Target 6.6 seeks to halt the degradation and destruction of these ecosystems, and to assist the recovery of those already degraded and destructed. The target not only includes aquatic ecosystems such as rivers, lakes and wetlands, but also mountains and forests, which are important for storing freshwater (for example, in glaciers) and for maintaining high water quality.

Global indicator 6.6.1 Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time

Definition: Changes over time in (1) the spatial extent of water-related ecosystems (wetlands, forests and drylands); (2) the quantity of water in ecosystems (rivers, lakes and groundwater); and (3) the resulting health of ecosystems. In addition, indicator 6.3.2 on ambient water quality and indicator 6.4.2 on environmental water requirements are critically important for understanding ecosystems, and need to be factored into the assessment of indicator 6.6.1.

Responsible for global compilation of data: UNEP on behalf of UN-Water