Monitoring SDG6 on water and sanitation

Country monitoring systems

Countries are the centre and starting point for all monitoring and oversee national monitoring via their national statistical system. In terms of SDG reporting to the global level, countries are responsible for collecting and sharing indicator data and metadata. Countries will need to decide on a suitable structure for implementing SDG 6 monitoring at the national level, building on existing monitoring efforts.

This page briefly summarizes a number of good practices and success factors, which have been identified by other countries implementing SDG 6 monitoring. For example, the importance of building political support, aligning with existing national processes and structures, involving all stakeholders and keeping a close eye on how the data will be used.

Building political support

The importance of high-level recognition and support for the monitoring process, from leaders in all relevant sectors and institutions, has been highlighted by many countries implementing SDG 6 monitoring. This is key for ensuring that the data are being shared across sectors and institutions, that they are being used for policy- and decision-making and to secure funding for monitoring over time.

To build political support, it is essential to:

  • Make a strong case for why monitoring is important, highlighting how policy- and decision-making and planning can be improved by having access to high-quality data. See this <<page>> for examples.
  • Clearly communicate the implications of the 2030 Agenda and the links between global and national processes, especially with respect to monitoring e.g. the role of global vis-à-vis national indicators, how country data will be used at the global level. See this <<page>> for examples.
  • Clearly communicate what is feasible within the national context and a specified time frame, to manage expectations. The “progressive monitoring steps” can be useful in showing that it is possible to start monitoring SDG 6 in a relatively simple and resource-efficient manner. See this <<page>> for examples.
  • Build on and strengthen existing national governance structures.

Aligning with existing national processes and structures

For long-term sustainability, it is essential to align the SDG monitoring process with existing national monitoring and reporting processes within all relevant sectors and the National Statistical Office, as well as with policy- and decision-making processes and existing institutional and coordination frameworks.

Country examples on how to align national and global processes:

  • Align roles and responsibilities for SDG 6 monitoring with existing governance structures for monitoring, reporting and implementation
  • Combine SDG 6 monitoring with the national joint sector review process, which also provides an opportunity to review and adapt existing monitoring frameworks
  • Review and “nationalize” the monitoring methodologies to adapt to the national context and build ownership
  • Recognize that institutionalization and mainstreaming are long-term processes that do not happen overnight (or over a single reporting cycle)
  • Properly reflect SDG 6 monitoring in workplans and budgets

Involving all stakeholders

Data on water and sanitation are collected by a wide variety of stakeholders, across sectors and levels of government. A key objective of the monitoring effort is to collate all the information from across sectors, to increase data availability, reduce institutional fragmentation and enable a comprehensive assessment on the state of water resources and the impact of different development paths.

In the below table, you find a list of common stakeholders at different levels. With multiple stakeholders, a clear institutional set-up is needed, with well-defined roles and responsibilities.

Country examples on how to convene multiple stakeholders:

  • Organize a cross-sectoral workshop to identify all stakeholders and their datasets.
  • Identify an overall focal point for SDG 6 monitoring, who act as the overall process coordinator and point of communication with the global Initiative.
  • Establish technical teams for each indicator/target, including representatives from all involved stakeholders, and identify a lead institution for each. The lead institution is responsible for implementing the monitoring and coordinating the efforts of other stakeholders.
  • Establish an intersectoral monitoring team, including the overall focal point and all the indicator-specific lead institutions. The team works with monitoring and data across indicators, to facilitate learning, streamline data collection and management and support joint analysis and use for policy- and decision-making.

Examples of national ministries and institutions

  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Environment
  • Meteorology
  • Hydrology
  • Geology
  • Food
  • Agriculture
  • Irrigation
  • Health
  • Public Services
  • Planning
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure
  • Production
  • Energy
  • Natural Resources
  • Mining
  • Finance
  • National Statistical Office

Examples of other national stakeholders

  • Subnational governments
  • Public and private utilities and other service providers
  • Space agencies
  • Universities and research institutes
  • Watershed management boards
  • User associations
  • Business associations
  • National Water Partnerships
  • NGOs

Examples of regional and global stakeholders

  • Intergovernmental institutions
  • Ministerial councils
  • United Nations bodies
  • Regional commissions
  • Development partners, donors and banks
  • NGOs

Focusing on data use

One of the key objectives of data collection is to support policy- and decision-making at all levels. It is therefore important to link the monitoring process to policy processes. This link could be established by e.g. appointing policymakers as the coordinators for monitoring each indicator. By having the same ministry coordinating both the implementation and the monitoring of a specific target, the different processes can reinforce each other by sharing information, good practices and lessons learned.

Integration within and beyond SDG 6 is essential when analysing data. Since water and sanitation monitoring is often carried out across various sectors, this provides an excellent opportunity for using water and sanitation data to link together data sets from these other sectors. Having an intersectoral monitoring team can be very helpful for carrying out a cross-sectoral analysis of water and sanitation data.

It is also recommended that different data sets from across sectors be widely accessible (both from a technical and political perspective), for which transparency, standardization and political support are key.

It is also essential that we present the data in a way that makes it understandable, and actionable, to different non-technical audiences. How can we present the data so that politicians know what they need to do? And to the public, or business, so that they know what they need to do?

At the global level, the SDG 6 Data Portal brings together data on all the SDG 6 global indicators and other key social, economic and environmental parameters. It does so to track overall progress towards SDG 6 at global, regional and national levels, to enable an integrated assessment and analysis of the state of water resources, and to raise awareness of water and sanitation issues to help catalyse action.