Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Indicator 6.6.1 “Change in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time”

Target 6.6 seeks to protect and restore ecosystems – this page explains why and how to monitor progress towards the target, and what resources that are available for countries to do so.

The indicator at a glance

Indicator 6.6.1 tracks changes over time in water-related ecosystems. Earth observations are used to determine changes to surface water bodies, such as lakes, large rivers, flooded wetlands and reservoirs. Recent advances in analysing satellite imagery have also enabled global data sets on lake water quality, coastal mangroves and inland wetland areas.

It is also recommended that countries incorporate a component on ecosystem health in their ecosystem monitoring programme, which is commonly measured through biological indicators. Data on ecosystem are collected by line ministries and institutions (e.g. for Environment, Water, Natural Resources), universities and research institutions, NGOs and citizens’ science initiatives (ground-based surveys) and space agencies (Earth observations).

Knowing if and why changes in the extent of water-related ecosystems are occurring is important for water managers to ensure that ecosystem services continue to be provided.

Available support 2019-2022

UNEP is the custodian of indicator 6.6.1. For any inquiries about available support, please contact their helpdesk.

Guidance on data collection and reporting

Online support

  • Helpdesk (email, phone, video conference)
  • Training videos (available in March 2020)
  • Fact sheets (available in March 2020)

Face-to-face support

  • National workshops in selected countries

Data and progress reporting