Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

What is the purpose of global indicators?

The purpose of the global indicators, which will be reported on with one national aggregate per indicator, is to broadly track progress towards the Goals and targets at the global level. They are also useful for countries to communicate their current situation, both to the international community to raise awareness of challenges and needs, and to the own population to show that progress is being made.

To be useful for policy- and decision-making at national and sub-national levels, the global indicators need to be disaggregated and put into a context.

Global indicators communicate general trends, disaggregation makes the information useful for management (Photo credit: Neil Palmer CIAT, Creative Commons Attribution)

For example, knowing that the level of water stress in a country is 80 % (global indicator 6.4.2) can be effective to ask other countries for help with water resources management, and to point out to the own population that progress is being made because five years ago it was 85 %. To guide policy- and decision-making it is essential to know in which basins too much water is withdrawn and in which sectors a lot of water is used (i.e. data disaggregation), and also to know how many people that are living in water stressed basins and the relative importance of the different sectors for the country’s economy (i.e. context).