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:

  • Spatial extent of water-related ecosystems and inland open waters
  • Quantity of water in ecosystems
  • Quality of water in ecosystems (see indicator 6.3.2)

It is also recommended that countries incorporate a component on ecosystem health in their ecosystem monitoring programme, which is commonly measured through biological indicators. The point of reference for “change over time” is the natural condition, i.e. before large-scale impacts were experienced by the ecosystem.

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).

For the component on change in spatial extent of inland open waters, a global data set has been derived based on earth observations (for all countries and water basins).

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