Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation


Dunns River Falls, Jamaica. Photo credit: Creative Commons Attribution

Water and sanitation highlights

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea, with a population of 2.7 million people and an economy based on agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and financial services, with wholesale and retail services being the largest contributor to its gross domestic product (GDP). Surrounded by a narrow coastal plain, mountains dominate the inland and divert a large portion of the country’s average annual rainfall of 2,100 mm to the northern parts of the island. Jamaica’s tropical climate supports various ecosystems and a highly diverse wildlife. Freshwater is abundant and about a third of the available resources are used, mainly by agriculture, and Jamaica’s many rivers allow for hydropower production. Ambient water quality is by large good, but threatened by pollution from industrial and domestic wastewater, agriculture, as well as saltwater intrusion. Access to safe and adequate drinking water and sanitation services is high, although the urban poor, living in unplanned settlements, continue to be affected by waterborne diseases due to inadequate services. Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean, and thus frequently suffers from water-related disasters. As a small island developing state, the potential impacts of climate change are significant.

Involved institutions

Institutions that primarily focus on water and sanitation are the Ministry of Health, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), the Water Resources Authority (WRA), the National Water Commission (NWC) and bauxite companies. The National Irrigation Commission (NIC) is responsible for agricultural (non-potable) water.

The NWC, as the main supplier of potable water, submits data to the Ministry of Health who monitors water quality. All entities who extract water must submit an application to the WRA, who issues a licence that dictates, inter alia, the volume of water that can be extracted by that abstractor. The abstractors must submit abstraction data to the WRA, who uses the information to monitor compliance, water use efficiency and water stress. The work of issuing licences is an inter-sectoral process with other agencies who also monitor water quality.

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) receives and publishes data from the above-mentioned institutions. STATIN carries out an annual household survey on the living standards of the Jamaican population entitled Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions. The publication facilitates the tracking and monitoring of changes in living standards and is effective in guiding policy decisions. STATIN also executes a decennial population census also provides information on water and sanitation issues in households.

To foster a coordinated approach on water and sanitation related issues, the relevant institutions convene regularly under the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation to discuss financial and technical operations of their ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). The Minister with responsibility for water also convenes meetings with the heads of these institutions to ensure that they are operating under policy guidelines and in tandem with each other.

Work on SDG 6 and monitoring

For integrated water and sanitation monitoring, Jamaica has established an inter-sectoral technical working group, representing four ministerial departments and agencies. Together they have investigated monitoring methodologies and identified, collated and analysed data on SDG 6. During their work in 2017, it was discovered that many of the relevant data providers were not aware of the role they should play in the SDG process, and that high-level support within the different departments and agencies was key to moving forward.

Challenges include low budget support for surface and groundwater quality monitoring, insufficient human resources and equipment for monitoring (especially for the monitoring of certain pollutants), and non-compliance of some water users to provide abstraction data.

Data are used to monitor the status of the country’s natural resources and assist with development and environmental planning, including the allocation of abstraction rights and the rehabilitation and development of water supply projects. Data is also used to further support policy dialogue on priority issues and encourage funding from the international community in line with Jamaica’s environment targets.

Learn more…

…about Jamaica’s work on SDG 6 monitoring by visiting their websites and listening to the interview and presentation below, and by exploring the poster to the right. Also see an article featuring water and sanitation monitoring in Jamaica in the SIDS Times (1st edition of 2018,  pages 26-27).

Talking to Ms Schmoi McLean, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, during the Global workshop for integrated monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation

Talking to Ms Schmoi McLean from Jamaica during the Global workshop for integrated monitoring of Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation

Gepostet von UN-Water am Dienstag, 21. November 2017


Monitoring for implementation – how to make use of the data, including case study from Jamaica

Monitoring for implementation

Monitoring for implementation – how to make use of the dataParticipants presenting country case studies: Liya Gu, Ministry of Water Resources, China; Schmoi McLean, Statistical Institute of Jamaica, Jamaica; Moloko Matlala, Department of Water and Sanitation, South Africa

Gepostet von UN-Water am Mittwoch, 22. November 2017