Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Building on national efforts

Countries own the monitoring and reporting of the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda clearly specifies that global follow-up and review “will be primarily based on national official data sources”. Countries are also the main beneficiaries of improved access to higher quality data, and in most cases, they already have monitoring systems in place. Global (and regional) monitoring efforts must therefore build on, and reinforce, national monitoring. This calls for a strengthening of the national statistical system, with a focus on developing technical and institutional capacity and infrastructure for monitoring.

Global monitoring must also work to ensure that data from one country are comparable with data from another, and comparable over time. This harmonization process is based on internationally agreed definitions and standards, and necessitates striking an important balance between country ownership and global (and regional) comparability.

SDG 6 monitoring builds on existing efforts in countries, thereby enabling countries to begin monitoring at a level in line with their capacity and resource availability, and to advance progressively. Photo credit: Proggie, Creative Commons Attribution

Of equal importance is the harmonization of definitions, standards and monitoring efforts within countries, and across different ministries and other data providers. This process involves working closely with the National Statistical Office.

For SDG 6, the recommended methodologies have been designed to enable the use of existing national data from multiple sources, while at the same time encouraging countries to progressively align with international definitions and standards. By focusing on the involvement of all relevant stakeholders in the monitoring process, the aim is to promote harmonization within countries. Detailed and transparent metadata help bridge differences in national, regional and international definitions and standards – through a rigorous data validation process, these can be analysed and reconciled.