Presenting target 6.6 on ecosystems

By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes
— 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

What and why?

Ultimately, it is water-related ecosystems that provide water services to society. They are important for improving water quantity, because they can capture and store water, water quality, because they can decompose and/or absorb water pollutants, and for other purposes such as providing fish and construction materials. Target 6.6 seeks to halt the degradation and destruction of these ecosystems, and to assist the recovery of those already degraded. The target includes water-related ecosystems such as vegetated wetlands, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and groundwater, as well as those occurring in mountains and forests, which play a special role in storing freshwater and maintaining water quality.

 

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

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

    How can monitoring help?

    Ecosystem monitoring, including that of ecosystem health, highlights the need to protect and conserve ecosystems and enables policy- and decision makers to set de facto management objectives.

    Global progress towards target 6.6 is monitored through one indicator: