Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Indicator 6.2.1 – Sanitation and hygiene

6.2.1 Proportion of population using safely managed sanitation services, including a handwashing facility with soap and water

Target 6.2 seeks to achieve access for all to sanitation and hygiene – this page explains why and how to monitor progress towards the target, and what resources that are available for countries to do so.

Indicator 6.2.1 builds on the MDG indicator – “proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility” – and incorporates aspects of accessibility and acceptability and safety, to further address the normative criteria of the human right to water. To ensure public health beyond the household level, this indicator incorporates the safe management of faecal waste along the entire sanitation chain, from containment to treatment.

The indicator includes two components:

  • The first component on sanitation tracks the percentage of population using an improved sanitation facility at the household level that is not shared with other households, and where excreta are treated and disposed of in situ or transported and treated off-site. Improved sanitation facilities include flush or pour-flush toilets to sewerage systems, septic tanks or pit latrines, improved pit latrines and composting toilets.
  • The second component on hygiene tracks the percentage of population with basic handwashing facilities in the home, where the presence of a handwashing facilities is used as a proxy for handwashing behaviour.

How to progressively monitor?

The extended scope of indicator 6.2.1 has implications on the monitoring process. During the MDG period, data were mainly collected from household surveys; with the SDG indicator, data on collection, treatment and reuse will also be gathered from institutions, utilities and other service providers.

Countries can start their monitoring effort with existing MDG data and gradually incorporate more information about on-site and off-site management of excreta and hygiene, as well as improve the data disaggregation. Data on 6.2.1 feeds directly into the monitoring of 6.3.1.

Poor sanitation and hygiene affect human health and damage the environment. The monitoring of target 6.2 illustrates to policy- and decision makers the importance of having a private toilet with a handwashing facility at home. Household surveys are an important source of data on the use of sanitation services.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) compile country data at the global level and supports countries in their monitoring efforts.