Monitoring ecosystems (indicator 6.6.1)
6.6.1 Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time
Indicator 6.6.1 tracks changes over time in:
- Spatial extent of water-related ecosystems and inland open waters
- Quantity of water in ecosystems
- Quality of water in ecosystems (see indicator 6.3.2)
It is also recommended that countries incorporate a component on ecosystem health in their ecosystem monitoring programme, which is commonly measured through biological indicators. The point of reference for “change over time” is the natural condition, i.e. before large-scale impacts were experienced by the ecosystem.
How to progressively monitor?
Data for indicator 6.6.1 are likely collected by the Ministry of Environment or Water, but also by NGOs and in academia, and in the case of Earth observations, by space agencies.
In terms of progressive monitoring, countries can initially focus on surface water-related ecosystems, for example, vegetated wetlands and open water bodies, measuring the spatial extent, quantity and quality of water. Over time, countries can expand to also cover groundwater bodies and increasingly ground-based verification and interpretation of the Earth observations that formed part of the spatial extent assessment.
The monitoring of ecosystem health, such as looking at macroinvertebrates or fish species, would also follow as country capacity and resources increase.
The United Nations Environment Programme compiles country data on indicator 6.6.1 and supports countries in their monitoring efforts.
Flexible methodologies allow countries to start monitoring at a level in line with their national capacity and available resources
Disaggregation is essential to make data as useful as possible, and to make sure that no one is left behind
The Integrated Monitoring Guide seeks to support countries in monitoring SDG 6, building on what already exist in the country and from there advance progressively
In 2017, the methodologies will be implemented on a global scale, to enable the establishment of a global baseline in 2018.
Some 20 Member States and many other stakeholders met in Geneva, Swizterland on 29-30 January 2015 to discuss options for SDG 6 indicators and monitoring mechanisms