Coordinating the UN's work on water and sanitation

Report feedback & discussion

Moderated: 2 May – 31 May.


This part will focus on collection of overall feedback on the report:

  • How did you like the report?
  • Are there areas, topics or messages that are missing from the report, or that you would like to highlight or modify in view of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)?
  • What could be improved in possible future editions of the report?


Please note that the comments received will not change the report, but instead be presented in a separate publication released after the end of the dialogue.

We look forward to receiving your constructive feedback and perspectives on the report and its messages.

Angela Renata Cordeiro Ortigara, Dr.

Associate Project Officer

UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme

Joshua Newton


UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme


  1. Dear colleagues,

    This report builds on the latest data available for the eleven global SDG 6 indicators to assess the state and progress in achieving this critical SDG. It is the outcome of a two years process and the cooperation of many UN and other international organizations as well as other contributors. The report informs the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) during its in-depth review of SDG 6 in July 2018. It represents a joint position of the United Nations family – a good example of the UN delivering as one.

    Particularly, the report
    • Reviews current situation and trends at global/regional level,
    • Provides data on global baseline status of SDG 6,
    • Explores the linkages between SDG 6 and SDGs,
    • Discuss ways to accelerate achieving SDG 6, and
    • Offers policy perspectives on accelerating achieving SDG 6 in the overall Agenda 2030 context.

    This Public Dialogue is an attempt to further increase the transparency, credibility and accountability of the report and, consequently, the impact of the report. Therefore, we hope for a lively discussion at this on-line forum as well as different conferences in the coming months where the report will be discussed with a wide range of stakeholders.

    Happy reading! We are looking forward to your comments.

    Best regards,
    Stefan Uhlenbrook, World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP), UNESCO
    Coordinator of the UN-Water Task Force to produce the SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018

    1. Freshwater industry
      The invention of the latest techniques for the manufacture of fresh water from 1 m3 daily to 6 million m 3 daily and reduce the temperature of more than 20 degrees Celsius in hot cities and eliminate 75% of climate change
      اختراع أحدث تقنيات لصناعة المياه العذبة من1م3 يوميا حتى 6 مليون م3 يوميا وخفض درجات حرارة الجو لأكثر من 20 درجة مئوية فى المدن الحارة والقضاء على 75% من التغيرات المناخية

    2. Thank you for this opportunity.

      One aspect I would have stressed is the coherence among the targets within Goal 6, which itself is a big area for investigation. Without coherence, it is next to impossible to finance all Goal 6 targets. Goal 6 is more than just drinking water and sanitation, although they are unfinished tasks. Once a coherence within Goal 6 is identified within a country context then it would help to find linkages outside of the ‘water box’ such as competing nexuses and resilience (water scarcity, water-related disasters, climate impacts and adaptation etc) and prioritise financing and other resource allocation.

      Best regards,
      Binaya Raj Shivakoti,
      Senior Water and Adaptation Specialist,
      Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Hayama, Japan

    3. Dear Stefan,

      Thank you for sharing this informative report. We would like to share some comments:

      Overall: Sanitation Needs A Greater Voice

      –          There is a strong emphasis on water in this document, less so about sanitation. Almost all of the recommendations and talking points going forward focus on water.

      Financing Gap: Emphasis on Local Governments’ Involvement is Needed as We Seek Sustainable Solutions

      –          There is strong articulation of how much financing is needed. However, stronger advocacy for and pressure on local governments to prioritize investing in sanitation; it cannot just be donor funding or investment capital that is coming into the sector if we want this to be sustainable and scaled. Governments prioritizing sanitation is important because (1) it is their responsibility to be providing these basic services and (2) the greater commitment they show, the more others will get involved – both financers and practitioners. Greater transparency and tracking is needed to ensure that governments are moving towards the 5% commitment.

      Private Sector Involvement Must be Contextualized

      –          When speaking of private sector participation, it is important to be tracking the strength of enabling environments for the private sector to be involved, not just that there is general cooperation. Again, this comes back to the importance of the government prioritizing sanitation.

      M&E Methodologies Need Revising

      –          In the urban informal settlement context, shared sanitation facilities are the only practical solution. And yet, because they are shared, it is still characterized as limited. However, if the waste is being safely managed from that shared facility, isn’t this better than an unshared latrine whose waste is being dumped within the community? A greater emphasis on effective full value chain service delivery models is needed.

      Comments compiled by Sanergy, Kenya on behalf of the Container Based Sanitation Alliance (CBSA).

      Thanks again for encouraging feedback in this way – we appreciate the opportunity.

      Tracey Keatman
      Coordinator, Container Based Sanitation Alliance

    4. Background in Efforts to Identify a Sustainable Approach to Treatment of Safe Drinking Water

      In 2003 the Household Water Network – the Network – was established, largely for the purpose of identifying technologies for treatment of safe drinking water that would be sustainable. It was determined that sustainability would necessitate treatment approaches that would be low cost and user friendly, with the means of treatment widely replicable, i.e. with little or no imports.

      By 2009, the Network had not identified any truly sustainable approaches to water treatment. By 2015, in the publication Elsevier, Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, decision makers of the Network published the article, Sustainability and scale-up of household water treatment and safe storage practices: Enablers and barriers to effective implementation. The abstract states upfront that of the technologies assessed, only boiling of drinking water had achieved scale.

      In meetings of the Network from 2003 onwards, however, the point was made that boiling was not sustainable. This was described as too expensive for the poor, whose meager income could not support this approach.

      Ceramic filter pots have often been viewed as approaching the requirement of sustainability, while these are user friendly and can be inexpensive. Additionally they do not involve the use of chlorine. The only apparent drawback has appeared to be the fragility of the filter pot, which resembles a flower pot.

      Another ceramic approach that was considered in 2009 was (is) water filter media of granulated ceramics, as coated with a small amount of silver. This had (has) an advantage additional to the filter pot that it is not breakable and the granules can be used to make a filter of any size, up to the largest scale.

      The approach of granulated ceramic media was rejected, however, as a result of the developer (the author here), having failed to attend an important meeting. Note that water filter media of granulated ceramics is now in production, ready for distribution.

      A. Reid Harvey, TAM Ceramics, Niagara Falls, NY

  2. Hello
    Excellent report and many thanks for this piece of work.
    I am missing however some illustrations, some maps, photos, tables with graphs to illustrate more what is in the text.
    I would have wished to see countries names , they are mentioned broadly but not specifically. Countries need to be recognized in the process of data , provider. Countries that are performing well need to be recognized and those that are poorly performing need to be indicated .
    In context of finances, the aspect of lack water integrity needs to be given emphasized. One of the biggest challenge in water sector is related to lack of transparency, lack of accountability in water infrastructures. The other important aspect is linked to flooding : it is mentioned in line with climate change effect but there is a need for more elaboration in line with water monitoring system and improved Early Warning System that is lacking in many places.
    In conclusion, the report is excellent, it needs to recognize as well the input from member countries , it needs some illustrations, and it needs to put emphasis on some key issues such as water integrity, and water monitoring aspect.

  3. Dear Vincent,

    Thank you for your suggestions! Soon we will have the power point presentations in the resource page, they are a very good summary of the report and you can use it if you want to!

    Regarding your questions on the country data:

    – For targets 6.1 (safe drinking water) and 6.2 (sanitation and hygiene) data is available at

    – For indicator 6.5.1 (Integrated Water Resources Management) data is available at

    The latest country data for other indicators (also for other SDGs!) can be found at

    Hope this is helpful!


    1. تحياتي
      لا يوجد احد فى العالم توصل لصناعة المياه العذبة من1م3 يوميا حتى 6 مليون م3 يوميا ونوظف تقنيات صناعة المياه العذبة فى خفض درجات حرارة الجو لأكثر من 20 درجة مئوية فى المدن الحارة والقضاء على 75% من التغيرات المناخية ولم تجدوا مثيل لما نقدمه مشكلتي هيا عدم وجود براءة اختراع إذا وجدة من يتبنى هذا الاختراع مقابل نسبة نتفق عليها يكون هذا أفضل لكافة دول العالم

  4. Hi there,

    It is great to have the the opprotunity for this dialogue but I am amazed at how litte traffic there is here.

    As it stands support for capacity development is not part of the indicator (6.a.1). Both the target and the indicator are strongly focused on external support and refer to the potential and need for stronger domestic engagement. The Synthesis report recommends defining additional indicators or modifying indicators to take account of this should be considered. What are the types of indicators that would reflect that progress in strengthened local capacities? Is there much thinking gone into this?

    The report also mentions that several countries are now producing national capacity development strategies for the water sector. What countries are these, are there examples or case studies of how this is being approached?

    The International WaterCentre is working with a number of pacific countries to develop strategies and while these are in the early phases we would keen to learn from other examples and indeed share our experiences.

    Best regards,

    Program Manager, Capacity Development and Training
    International WaterCentre

    1. Dear Declan,

      Thank you for your comment.

      There has been a strong call from countries for better monitoring of capacity development under target 6.a, as well as preliminary discussion between custodian agencies. However, there have not yet been concrete discussions or proposals on such an indicator, nor on monitoring mechanisms: monitoring capacity in a meaningful way is challenging. A first step would be to conduct a scoping of available data sources, including from WHO, OECD, and UNESCO.

  5. Dear All,

    it is excellent report to start the discussion on SDGs ( goal 6) and how it can be achieved in general. Good start and in particular the key messages. However, I would say this report or another report should reflect more on how each country can do it.

    An education manual that covers:
    -What and why ( i reckon this covered by this report)
    -How ? is a big missing question and it is not only about tools and data requirements for each indicator. itis beyond that for sure, it is about scale, the investment required and potential sources, policy, soft and hard institutional reform, guidelines, education, and awareness etc

    It is a long journey that by 2030 each country needs to go through- sharing successful examples and lesson learned.

    We need to provide a roadmap from our current state to reach our target, this will need to be tailored and customized for each country by its own resources and expertise but maintain consistency with the world.

    More discussion will follow.

    Dr Amgad Elmahdi
    Head of Water Resources Section
    Bureau of Meteorology, Australia

    1. Dear Amgad,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, it’s true that each country has lessons learned that could be useful to other countries at this early stage of the 2030 Agenda. This is probably especially true at the regional level, where there are more commonalities between countries.

      And, you are also correct in that each country needs its own roadmap. Every country has a unique situation due to their geographic, socio-economic, cultural, political, legal circumstances, so there is no “one-size-fits-all” to how to do this. That is also the beauty of the SDGs in that each country can “localize” their SDG targets.

      On the monitoring side, UN-Water has set up this useful page ( to not only give guidance on various aspects of monitoring, but also to learn from other countries’ experience.

  6. Considering decades use of different types of pesticides and chemicals and recently biocides with no proper regulations in most developing countries, now we are facing with the big problems of toxic pollution in water and emerging water pollutants.

    1. Dear Ahmad,

      Yes, and this is why one of the key messages from the SDG 6 Synthesis report is that, because of deteriorating water quality, this equates to a loss in water availability, which is critical for water-scarce countries. That is why it will be important to monitor SDG indicator 6.3.2 on ambient water quality.

      But, this is not just a problem for developing countries!

  7. Dear Angela Renata
    Dear Josh

    Thank you for sharing this interesting report. Due to the short notice we were not able to hare it with our members and to collect feedback from local governments. At UCLG (United Cities and Local Governments) we want to underline the crucial importance of sanitation for people and the role of local authorities as they are at the forefront and the closest level with the beneficiary of basic services. We are proposing the contribution:

    “Sanitation is Local Government’s priority

    In the debate that surrounds SDG 6 on Water and Sanitation, it is important to state clearly that effective sanitation is a prerequisite of adequate water supply. Even before addressing the diverse ways to guarantee an adequate provision of running water to an urban space, it is essential to have a clear idea of how to dispose of the used water in the first place.
    The population that is not served by adequate evacuation systems, this is a matter of dignity and quality of life. It is a matter of health and decent living conditions. And it is a matter of inclusion, social and economic opportunity for all: think of all those countries in which especially women and girls do not have access to schooling (Targets 4.2 and 4.5) because of the lack of water and sanitation.
    It is all the more important to guarantee an effective sanitation system in those contexts in which scarcity, quality of water supply, cost of generation and distribution still prevent a large share of the population from accessing water supply. No sustainable urbanization can be ensured without the establishment of an effective sanitation system – without additional financial burden on the users. Accordingly, all investment in planned sanitation infrastructure, in collaboration with local and regional governments, can have positive externalities for human development and the achievement of SDGs 6 and 11.
    Many local and regional governments are responsible for the provision of this service. They know, better than any other tier of governance, what vulnerable groups in what areas of the territory require more integration and better access to this service, and how to fully integrate them as to achieve SDG 11.
    Setting up an effective sanitation network requires funding and needs to be embedded in a long-term strategy. This turns sanitation into a significant challenge for many local and regional governments, considering the heavy investments and operating and maintenance costs related to such a basic service. These can often only be supported via institutional partnerships with several other actors at all levels: the state, the private sector, donors, and civil society, among others.
    Today, 2.3 billion people do not have access to sanitation, despite the efforts made over the last fifteen years. UN Water’s report shows that many countries are not keeping pace, or that their responses are already obsolete. Delay in the provision of this service is a true humanitarian emergency, especially in developing and less developed countries, in which a significant shortage in sanitation provision is combining with rapid growth in urban population.
    The international community has committed, through SDG 6 (Targets 6.1 and 6.2) and the New Urban Agenda (paragraphs 72 and 73), to ensure access to sanitation for all. This is why any strategy to be put in place should build upon consensus and involvement of local and regional governments. They are the level of government closest to the citizens. They often enjoy devolved competences to provide such services. Infrastructure financing remains a crucial issue, but technical and institutional capacity-building and cooperation require attention, political effort and agreement too.
    However, a community decides to manage their sanitation service, local and regional governments should co-own the process: it is their responsibility to guarantee its sustainability, and the dignity, inclusion and equal rights of the citizens that depend on it.”

    Mohamed Boussraoui
    United Cities and Local Governments

    1. Dear Mohamed,

      Thank you for your comments and statement. Always great to hear the perspective of local governments. And, agreed, mention of local and regional governments is quite lacking in the report. I believe this is part due to the fact that it’s only the baseline for SDG 6 and that, from this point forward, more efforts will be made on the implementation now that we know where we are starting from (for the most part), and this, as you well know and stated, depends much on local and regional governments. This is great feedback for the response document that will come at the end of the dialogue.

  8. After reading through the document, I felt it does a great job of synthesis. However, I felt it was missing the essence, especially when solutions are being suggested. Many reports on water contain these solutions. However, not much progress has been achieved in terms of increase access to sufficient water for all, for all purposes, including humans and non-human life. Ofcourse, this synthesis report does not delve deeper into how non-human life on this planet is losing access to water and moisture, which is defining their survival, variously.

    Secondly, most solutions that have been implemented have not looked at differential impacts, while SDGs are about linking achievements together or in a sequence of 1 to 17. For example, in most projects with the objective of providing drinking water to the laying of pipelines is one of the steps. However, pipelines deny access to communities, settlements or habitats through which it passes and ends up serving the ‘targeted’ beneficiary. Thus, selection of technologies, methodologies also need closer look using the lens of SDG1 and SDG10.

    I feel the synthesis report should link its suggestions and test them against other SDGs.

    1. Dear Nreddy,

      Thank you for your comments.

      It is true that the report does not delve deeper into how non-human life is affected by water loss (and also the impacts of water quality on wildlife, which you didn’t mention), but, unfortunately, the SDG 6 targets (and indicators) have no focus on this issue. Target 6.6 on the protection of water-related ecosystems comes closest, but, yes, it’s with a human lens. This could potentially be a gap in SDG 6, but one could argue that this is addressed in SDG 15.1.2 (SDG 15 is “Life on Land”; on “Proportion of important sites for terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity that are covered by protected areas, by ecosystem type,” but you would have to look at the questionnaire of this indicator to see exactly what is being measured. One of the improvements of the SDGs on the MDGs is their integrated nature, but it will take a concerted effort, especially between the SDGs, as they still act in silos, to ensure that solutions are implemented in an integrated manner.

      On your set of points, they are well taken. This is only the baseline for SDG 6 and there are many gaps in the data on the SDG global targets, so this “testing” you refer to with regards to SDG 6 and other SDGs should definitely be taken into consideration as we move forward now that we have that baseline. We need to see what solutions can indeed have many beneficiaries, and stop working in a siloed approach.

  9. Greetings:

    I commend the writers on the progress so far. I do recommend; however, that while the “right to water” is briefly mentioned on page 8, a more robust explanation should be provided, in the paragraph or perhaps as a footnote such as:

    “On 28 July 2010, through Resolution 64/292, the United Nations General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation and acknowledged that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential to the realisation of all human rights.”

    As the SDGs are unequivocally grounded in international human rights law, the 2030 agenda offers critical opportunities to further advance the realization of human rights for all people everywhere, without discrimination – leaving no one behind. By including a stronger emphasis on water and sanitation as a human right in this report, the authors will contribute to the advancement of this human rights standard as recognized by the UNGA.

    In addition, Indigenous Peoples are briefly mentioned on pages 108, 125 (References), and 194. While the mentions are welcome, I recommend the inclusion of a reference to the Untied Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to better promote the recognition that Indigenous Peoples are rights-holders. A specific mention of the UNDRIP Articles 25 and 32 should be added in the paragraph “Among sociocultural environments” on page 108 or as a footnote to that paragraph:

    “Article 25: Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources and to and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard.”

    “Article 32.,para 2: States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.”

    The term Indigenous Peoples should also be included on page 195 in the paragraph focusing on “Multi-stakeholder partnerships…” as Indigenous Peoples retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from “civil society” and or the general “public sector.”

    A suggested edit is “…can bring actors together from the public and private sectors, civil society, indigenous peoples, and academia to align work…”

    This is not a matter of increasing a list, but recognizing a key distinct, rights-holding partner. UNDRIP Article 32, para. 2 underscores the importance of being a rights-holder when moving toward any potential partnership.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    All the best,
    Roberto Múkaro Borrero (Taíno),
    Programs and Communications Coordinator,
    International Indian Treaty Council;
    Co-convener, Indigenous Peoples Major Group

    1. Dear Robert,

      Both of your points are very valid, and thank you.

      On the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation, there are several mentions besides what you quote in your comment, and on page 23, there is actually a box dedicated to the rights, which has a more robust explanation. But, there probably could also be more mention in the inequalities sections in the report as well.

      With regards to the mentioning of Indigenous Peoples, you are right in that this could be mentioned more, and thank you for providing the citations, and we will take note of this for the feedback.

  10. Dear UN-Water colleagues,

    Thank you for this useful and timely review of SDG6. Overall it is an excellent report and the authors are to be congratulated for summarising such a broad, complex issue. I would like to offer the following and comments and feedback based on the areas of interest and expertise of the Rural Water Supply Network (RWSN) and Unlocking the Potential of Groundwater for the Poor (UPGro) – however, I don’t pretend to represent the expertise of our members and partners.

    Rural Water Service Sustainability

    Overall the representation of rural water supply and wider rural water issues is well represented in the report.
    However, my biggest surprise was the lack of explicit reporting, discussion or recommendations on the sustainability of WASH services. For example, p. 20 “Extending access to safe drinking water presents a huge challenge”
    While extending safe water access to those who currently do not have even a basic service is important, equally important is maintaining the water and sanitation systems and hygiene behaviours and worldwide this is proving to be a challenge. The call for additional financing seems to focus only on capital expenditure and not on the other (larger) life cycle cost elements

    Accountability and access to effective legal and enforcement services

    Other area where the report appears relative light (and this maybe because it is more related to the Human Rights issues than SDGs) is on the role of legal systems and enforcement in ensuring Rights Holders can hold Duty Bearers to account and can mediate conflicts between Rights Holders. In many rural areas, access to the formal legal system is hampered by physical distance, cost, lack of awareness and low trust. Therefore a question going forward is what role do traditional and religious authorities have in water conflict resolution and how can their effectiveness be enhanced without entrenching existing discriminations.


    There is only one mention of self-supply (p.115), which under represents the importance and role of household investment in improving water supplies. For example, Thailand achieved near-universal access to safe drinking water in large part due to household roof-water harvesting [1] and in a new World Bank report from the Danube Project recommendations include “Advocate for supported self-supply as a complementary model to reach universal access” [2]. Part of the problem is the lack of official monitoring and data of self-supply in many countries, and regulation of the water quality of such sources is often limited, even in high income countries.

    Self-supply in rural areas is an opportunity to unlock unconventional WASH investment, such as micro-finance, which is the approach being taken by US NGO,, however, p117 only refers to micro-finance in the context of paying for household connections to a piped systems (which is many rural areas are just not there or prohibitively expensive). It provides a space for entrepreneurs and Small-Medium Sized Enterprises, such as manual drillers and hardware manufacturers.

    In urban areas, self-supply, or private supplies, are a more problematic coping mechanism from inadequate or intermittent municipal supplies [3] (which is an issue I couldn’t find reference too, but is a regular topic within IWA and other platforms). Generally it is richer households and businesses that can afford deeper, safer boreholes, while poor slum and peri-urban residents often rely on shallow wells, which are easily contaminated by surface water, latrines and poor solid and liquid waste management.

    Capacity Development

    The point on p120: “KCD (Knowledge & Capacity Development) is an intrinsically slow and complex process. Yet, water donors are usually more interested in quick performance results as an indication of KCD effectiveness.” Is absolutely critical – if low income countries are to move away from donor-dependency then investment in skills, training and careers is essential, accepting that there will be inevitably be some brain-drain of talent. The description of the issues on p166-167 describes the issues well, particularly the problems of developing and retaining talent in the WASH sector as a whole and rural WASH in particular. This is not a SDG6 specific issue, it is right across all public services and so should probably be addressed as such – in strong cooperation with actors involved in SDG4 – should that be a recommendation?

    The point “Opportunities exist to improve education in developing countries by linking to online education that specifically targets the water sector” is well taken and one that RWSN is seeking to address, albeit with a narrow focus on drilling professionalisation for the time-being, with UNDP CapNet.

    Water & Energy

    The point “Providing much-needed electricity in water-stressed areas may lead to conflicts among competing water users, with trade-offs needed to resolve them,” is important because the experience in India has been that subsidised energy for pumping has led to widespread groundwater depletion. The emerging issue is solar pumping, which has been around for a long time, but with rapidly falling hardware costs, it is becoming an attractive option. In high-density rural areas widespread uptake may threaten aquifer sustainability or drought resilience.

    Similarly, sea-level rise and reduced river flows will see increasing pressure for desalination at all scales – piloting of small-scale desalination is already happening in coastal Bangladesh and while it is offers some benefits, widespread use is likely to create new problems around energy demand and brine disposal.


    Threats to groundwater quality are well summarised on page 142. However, in relation to arsenic and fluoride on page 133 it should be made clear that both arsenic and fluoride risks in groundwater are widespread ( and naturally occurring. As it reads at the moment, it could be interpreted that these geogenic contaminants are from human sources, such as wastewater.

    Groundwater is the largest freshwater resource available but is under-represented in SDG monitoring and often ignored or given a low priority in IWRM planning and implementation (Box 11, p79 notwithstanding). Challenges and recommendations are set out in the IAH Strategic Overview: The UN-SDGs for 2030 – Essential Indicators for Groundwater [4]

    P157 – on droughts and climate change. Latest research [5] indicates that tropical aquifers recharge more in intense rainfall events, as is expected through climate change, therefore groundwater will become increasingly important for drought resilience. However, the areas and populations most at risk are where water (ground, surface, rain) monitoring is most sparse. Remote sensing (such as the GRACE satellites that measure gravity anomalies) can help, but only with robust ground-truthing. Design of infrastructure, such as roads [6] can enhance groundwater recharge and reduce localised flood risk.

    Multi-stakeholder partnerships can unlock potential/Public Participation.

    A common reporting and partnership mechanism that I can’t find any reference to is the WASH Joint Sector Review (JSR) and Sector Performance Reports (SPR) which have been used (with varying degrees of success by 18 countries [7]

    I hope those comments are useful.

    Sean Furey (Skat Foundation, Switzerland)


    [1] Matthias Saladin (2016) Rainwater Harvesting in Thailand: Learning from the World Champions. RWSN Field Note 2016-1, RWSN, St. Gallen, Switzerland
    [2] World Bank/Danube Project (2018) Beyond Utility Reach? How to Close the Urban – Rural Access Gap A review of rural water and sanitation services in seven countries of the Danube region
    [3] UPGro (2017) Groundwater and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, UPGro Working Paper, Skat Foundation, St. Gallen, June 2017
    [4] IAH (2017) The UN-SDGs for 2030 – Essential Indicators for Groundwater
    [5] Jasechko, S & Taylor, R.G ‘Intensive rainfall recharges tropical groundwaters’ Environmental Research Letters 11 December 2015
    [6] Demenge, J., Rossella Alba, R,. Welle, K., Manjur, K., Addisu, A., Mehta, L.,Woldearegay K. (2015) Multifunctional Roads: The Potential Effects of Combined Roads and Water Harvesting Infrastructure on Livelihoods and Poverty in Ethiopia, doi: 10.1177/0974930615609482 Journal of Infrastructure Development December 2015 vol. 7 no. 2 165-180
    [7] DANERT, K, FUREY, S, MECHTA, M and GUPTA, S (2016) Effective Joint Sector Reviews for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH). A Study and Guidance – 2016, World Bank

  11. This is what your outline is excluding that needs to be addressed:
    One of the greatest problems of the SDG program is its failure to address the major flaws in its borehole programs. As many as 30 percent of all boreholes drilled fail in short order. In some areas the percentage is as high as 70 percent. A few years ago I recognized this problem and resolved and repaired most of the major problems with the failed systems that are currently being used. I submitted my ideas to RWSN and USAID and they ignored the problem as well as its solution. They continued to encourage the use of failed methods.
    I have continued with my efforts to resolve this problem, obtained a U.S. Patent and am still denied the opportunity to participate in this program. Recently I was denied access to an online forum that addressed sustainability. As a result, the SDG’s will continue to produce failed boreholes and the people of the world that depend on the water produced by those boreholes will suffer or die.
    The definition of insanity: ” using the same systems knowing they will continue to fail and refusing to consider better systems.”
    The current systems of hand drilling boreholes involve the auger method, jetting method and sludging method. All of those methods have produced a system where a person knowingly drills and is paid for drilling 10 boreholes, when in fact everyone knows less than 7 will be productive. That is simply insane. Knowingly banning my system from use is tantamount to murder and fraud committed upon the poor persons of the world. There is no reason to risk lives and to waste money when there is a better way to install boreholes.
    As a person with 50 years experience in drilling boreholes and inventing drilling tools, it was my hope to be able to have the support of the participants in the SDG’s, attempting to save lives. Instead, people have ignored the value of life and have continued to cause the death of women, men and children. This is a shame.
    I seriously doubt that this message will ever see the light of day. I will continue to move forward and file this letter with the others as proof that this SDG system is a fraud. As time progresses these letters and messages will be evidence of the wasteful expenditure of money and the loss of life that have occurred needlessly. As it stands my letters to RWSN management show the dates at which they could have chosen to save money and to save lives.
    My method of drilling is based upon the reverse flow air lift method. The least expensive version of my drill is the 2″ version with an electric air compressor. The cost of the device is around 150 dollars for a drill that will drill several meters ( add 1.5 dollar a foot to increase depth up to 100 meters.) (Most hand drilling systems cost thousands of dollars.) The maximum depth my device will drill has not been determined but calculations indicate it can drill at least 100 meters in alluvial soils. I have drilled boreholes from 6 inches in diameter to 20 inches in diameter. The device is constructed of PVC and can be furnished in sizes up to 8 inches in diameter. An 8 inch diameter drill will drill through and will bring up rocks 9.5 inches by 4.5 inches in size. My drill is available in a gasoline powered trailer mounted as well as in hand operated systems.
    Most hand operated drills use high pressure mud to drill deep boreholes. That mud is injected in the aquifer and eventually the mud that is used to drill will stop the well from producing. My drill does not require the use of drilling mud in most instances and will not stop up the aquifer. My drill does not require heavy draw-works such as required by the village drill, jetting, sludging method and auger systems. My drill is comprised of PVC pipe filled with air and therefore when one is drilling deep and needs to trip the drill stem, one simply fills it with air and it floats out of the borehole.
    Because the cost of my system is lower and because the boreholes my drill installs are vastly superior and the damage to the aquifer is less, it is foolish to attempt to hide my system from the public. I suggest that now is the time to change course and adopt my system of drilling before the whole program SDG is compromised and appears to be biased. Every year using the old technology is a year where money is wasted and people die from the lack of water or from contaminated water.

  12. Dear Team,

    Thanks for the great efforts put into producing this wonderful piece. Here are my proposals.

    1. How about listing the major categories of stakeholders and what their top 5 priority actions for each category should be in making some reasonable strides. Categories could be Government, Private Sector, Civil Society, Donors and Multilateral agencies, Citizenry at all levels, Academia and Research Institutions)
    2.For Countries making major leaps in progress, what have they done to register major strides that is replicable to other countries and what have the enabling factors been?
    3. How does the financing framework look like in the event that the proposed actions are to be fully implemented and what would the follow-up actions be? Who should be involved and what strategic contribution should be expected from them?

    Thanks for the opportunity to provide feedback.

    Best Regards


    1. Dear Josephine,

      Thank you for your comments and very good suggestions.

      We will keep them in mind in the preparation of the next reports, as we believe that all stakeholders have a role to play in the implementation of the agenda.
      Regarding the good examples and practices, we didn’t manage to add many in this report, as you probably have seen we have added some boxes, but we agree that more in-depth show casing would be very helpful!


  13. On behalf of the co-authors of a recent paper on the Means of Implementation targets, it is good to see that these problematic targets received some attention in the report. However, we’d like to stress that much still remains to be done to improve the SDG 6 MoI targets and the indicators.

    In our paper “Policy review of the means of implementation targets and indicators for the sustainable development goal for water and sanitation” published in NPJ Clean Water, we (Jamie Bartram, Clarissa Brocklehurst, David Bradley, Mike Muller and Barbara Evans) point out that there is generally weak evidence linking the Means of Implementation to outcomes, they are imperfectly conceptualised and inconsistently formulated, and tracking their largely qualitative indicators will be difficult. In our paper, we analysed and critiqued the Means of Implementation targets of SDG6. We recommended improvements that would reflect: the considerable investment needed to attain SDG6; the important role of the state, including government leadership and planning; the utility of disaggregating financial and capacity-building assistance; and the need for people to realise their rights to information, voice and remedy. Recommendations are also made for relevant indicators, including indicators that are applicable to governments in both aid-providing and aid receiving countries.

    There are precedents for major changes to development goals. For example, the omission of sanitation from the Millennium Development Goals in 2001 was remedied in 2002 by a simple insertion into the target wording.

    Our detailed recommendations to substantively improve SDG6 MoI targets and associated indicators are as follows:

    We call on the international community to consider such improvement, including:
    • Revise 6a to reflect the need for: (a) considerable investment to achieve SDG6 that will not come exclusively from ODA; (b)government leadership and planning, and the obligation for entities wishing to accelerate progress on SDG 6 to foster them; and (c) breadth and quality, in development effectiveness terms, of international cooperation, disaggregating financial and capacity-building assistance. Further, to adopt indicators that are applicable to governments in both aid providing and aid-receiving countries, as well as non-governmental aid-providing entities, in the spirit of mutual accountability. Data are increasingly available for some of these components and adoption of appropriate targets would encourage refinement of data collection and adoption of best practices.
    • Revise 6b to better reflect the rights to information, voice and remedy. Develop an associated indicator that would better reflect the proportion of the population with effective access to these rights, rather than the proportion of administrative entities with policies and procedures of unknown implementation.
    • Insert an MoI target, with appropriate indicators, reflecting the role of the state, and the need for: (a) national planning; (b) innovation in areas of deficiency, including sharing of innovation; and (c) the necessary human capacity through capacity building with emphasis on renewal and updating. Incorporate into this a converted SDG Target 6.5 ‘By 2030,implement integrated management of water resources at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate’, and develop appropriate indicators that encourage acceleration of the pace of progress, including resilience and adaptability to stressors such as climate change and population movements.
    Each of these targets and indicators is universally relevant—applicable to countries at all stages of development; and reasonable in that each is underpinned by principles that are established and widely accepted. Further, they are collectively sufficient to dramatically accelerate progress overall and towards equality within and between nations—itself a major feature of the evolution from the MDGs to the SDGs that is not reflected in the SDG6 MoIs. Adapting and adopting them would set the basis for a shared water-secure future characterised by cooperation, resilience and adaptability.

    The full paper accompanies this comment.

    best wishes
    Clarissa Brocklehurst
    Adjunct Professor, Environmental Sciences and Engineering
    Affiliated Adjunct Faculty Member, Water Institute
    University of North Carolina

    1. Hi Clarissa,

      Thanks for your very clear observations and for the good work of the Water Institute. Please allow some comment on your overall points. The Household Water Network, as is close to the WHO and the Water Institute needs to consider verification, and the possibility of some sort of endorsement, for a technology that has long been overlooked: that of water filter media and filter systems of granulated ceramics. This is truly sustainable in that it is low cost and user-friendly, with production widely replicable. Moreover the filter systems will be large scale.

      Following are several links, the first to a presentation and the second to the first newsletter of TAM Ceramics, Veritable Niagara. Note that while portions of this last appear to be critical of efforts in household water treatment, it’s important to commend the tireless efforts of those involved.

      That criticism is due to a certain frustration in our efforts to build awareness, that huge numbers of new beneficiaries of safe drinking water can be expected through implementation of community scale water filters of granulated ceramics. Personally I must apologize that in 2009 when I was approached with a view to such beginning implementation I was going through an unfortunate phase and consequently did not follow up.

      Now, however, we at TAM Ceramics are ready to partner, to benefit far greater numbers of those vulnerable to waterborne illness than would otherwise be possible. Were this approach to be properly embraced, waterborne illness would no longer be a substantial cause of infant mortality. Please have a look at these links for details and commentary.

      Best regards,

      Reid Harvey
      Senior Scientist
      TAM Ceramics of NY, LLC

  14. Dear UN WWAP Team,
    Dear All,

    Excellent SDG 6 Synthesis Report, really useful insights there!

    So in addition, I would like to see more practical examples of how we can improve public participation in WASH governance and management. Also it would be great to highlight the importance of tapping into traditional knowledge for water and sanitation, particularly at community level.

    Uganda, through the Department of Water Development, recently launched its revised Water and Sanitation Gender Strategy (2018-2022). The Strategy puts emphasis on the important role of women and girls as major water collectors, users and promoters of household water and sanitation; and the need for equity in access and control of resources for everyone. Hence, we could also look into promoting tailor-made gendered knowledge and capacity development (KCD) as way to bridge existing gaps in sustainable water and sanitation management.

    Thank you and best regards,

    Anna Odur,
    Water Researcher
    Association of Uganda Professional Women in Agriculture and Environment (AUPWAE)

    1. Dear Anna,

      Thank you for your comment, and we agree on the need of having practical examples: we will keep this in mind! Would you have any example from Uganda that you would like to share with us?

      Congratulations to Uganda for revising the Water, Sanitation and Gender initiative.

      Best Regards,


      1. Dear Angela,

        Many thanks for the feedback. Yes I’ll be happy to share on upcoming new initiatives at national level.

        All the best,


  15. Dear Angela:

    As mentioned in our brief talk during Marianne’s talk, I had a chance to visit Honduras during the winter break and was able to look into their community based water governance system which is working well in managing water treatment plants.

    I am sharing a brief story on that which probably could be a good example of sustainable water governance.

    1. Dear Fawzia,

      Thank you for sharing this example of water governance in Central America. I can see that the project not only helped 65.000 people to get access to have safe drinking water (SDG 6.1), but also included the community during the planning (SDG 6.5 and 6.b), and the utility is engaged in protecting the watershed (SDG 6.6)! It would be nice to know if you have any pictures and figure on the situation before and after the intervention.

      As you probably saw in the previous comment these examples are needed, and can help also other countries to find solutions to their challenges. So, many thanks!



      1. Hi, Fawzia and Angela.
        Could you share the example do you mentioned about water governance in Honduras?
        Surely will be useful for implementing solutions in the indigenous and rural region I live, at Southern, Mexico, where sanitation and treatment methods are needed.
        Thanks a lot.

  16. Dear colleagues,

    thank you for this excellent and comprehensive Report and for the opportunity to send comments.

    Please allow me some quite specific comments as folllows:

    – Page 111: Principles of good governance: Link to OECD work on Good Governance is seen positiv. OECD WGI collected 50+ „Best practice examples“, including 6 examples from Austria, which cover various powerful examples for different aspects addressed in this report; e.g. Story about the way from urban wastewater treatment to power generation in main urban wastewater treatment plant of Vienna, …

    – Page 123: Figure 20 on proportion of country reporting: The figure shows that better harmonization of SDG 6 reporting streams of different UN organizations might be useful in future.

    – Page 154: Water and marine ecosystems: one additional connecting topic of freshwaters and marine waters beyond pollution of nutrients, hazardous substances or litter are migratory fish; e.g. salmon, sturgeon or eel; expensive measures to ensure rivers continuity are meanigless without ensuring sustainable population of migratory fish in marine waters;

    – Page 166, Box 36: although an important issue is addressed, the link to water is is not obvious in this example;

    Best regards,

    Ernst Überreiter
    Federal Ministry of Sustainability and Tourism
    Unit National and International Water Policies

  17. Hi there,

    This report is a great start, although there are more questions then answers.

    I do have a more general question though. The big picture is that the world is not on track – which is totally true – nevertheless I see hundreds of different organisations and people trying to solve those issues… separately instead of together. I was wondering if there is any draft or idea or plan to offer a platform to merge forces and be one strong community. Only looking at the comments here I see people from around the world wishing to privately, or with their organisation, or with their university or start help to succeed in the mission.

    Would love to hear more about that

    Thank you,

    Alex Margot
    D.E.W. (Desert Electricity and Water)

  18. Dear colleagues,

    we welcome the possibility to comment on the Draft UN-Water SDG 6 Synthesis Report 2018. In our Working Group Water, where different NGOs from the environmental and developmental sector are collaborating, we formulated a joint position which you can find attached.

    This position is written by Bread for the World Germany, Counter Current, Grüne Liga, World Peace Service, Women in Europe for a Common Future and the German NGO Forum on Environment and Development.

    We are looking forwards to be informed about the outcomes of the dialogue!

    Thank you and best regards,

    Marijana Todorovic
    Policy Officer, German NGO Forum on Environment and Development

  19. First of all, I must thank for the opportunity to contribute to these processes, and second, congratulate you precisely for the enormous effort that you have surely put into achieving a document of this quality. It has been difficult to try to read carefully the entire document (and the additional materials), but I want to comment on some aspects that I have not seen (and perhaps I have overlooked).

    A&B Sections:
    I have two questions about the first parts of the report:
    Do exist a “semaphorization” of the status or progress towards SDG6 targets?
    Do we forget a target about improve data collection systems or reliable data collection systems or standardization DCS? (after reading the whole document, I´ve found that data acquisition and monitoring is one of the means of implementing (MoI) the targets, but I think that to have a good data collection system should be a target. The promotion or construction of Water Observatories, managed by universities or NGOs may be an option, but the question is “hat to measure? what to monitoring?

    Target 6.1: Safe and affordable drinking water
    OBS: In countries like Mexico, drinking water means bottled water; this is a big risk thinking in privatizing drinking water supply systems. I think that report should be explicit in that: Drinking water is not bottled water.

    Target 6.2: Access to sanitation and hygiene and end open defecation
    OBS: Countries must investigate about a variety of sanitation methods and technologies for on-site sanitation systems and hygiene facilities, but also sewerage networks. (I have to review the Honduras experience mentioned by Fawzia Tarannum in her contribution, and surely exist other examples.)

    Target 6.3: Improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse.
    OBS: What about agricultural pollution that contributes to freshwater pollution? In the report is mentioned the fact of nutrient pollution, but doesn’t mention about emergent pollutant or the solids carried to water bodies from water erosion in agricultural landscapes. Table 4 of Syntheses Report (Pp. 142) is excellent, but needs the alternatives or solution for improving water quality.
    OBS: We have a big problem not only with the extent of pollution (not only industrial but also household and agricultural), but the kind of pollutants (conventional, highly dangerous and emergent ones).

    Target 6.4: Increase water-use efficiency and ensure freshwater supplies.
    OBS: The key and emphasis should be “to make a better use of available resources”, more than looking up for other source of them. Economic valuation is always a risk, but is difficult to find a better way to measure the “value of water”. We should have a catalog of Best Management Practices for water resources, or identify the BMPs for agriculture that contributes to a better water management, like in the example of Box8.
    OBS: Do really still is an option the wastewater as a source of water for agriculture? I think is one of the most dangerous solutions for the problem of water supplies, for the problems of salinization or pollution with heavy metals or bio infectious agents. Of course, the treatment is needed for using that wastewater for agriculture, but remember the levels of treatment we have in our wastes (Target 6.4).

    Target 6.5: Implement integrated water resources management
    OBS: It is worrisome the low degree of implementation of IWRM, when one of the key message is that “Implementing IWRM is the most comprehensive step towards achieving SDG 6”. This is a very ambitious target, but it could also be misleading. Agriculture is the most water demanding human activity (about 70%), but is only mentioned once in the Executive summary and in the Questionnaire for IWRM report (Section 2, coordination among government authorities about hydric resources). What abut programs for an efficient use of water in agriculture? or programs for incorporating of best practices of management that has an positive impact on wetlands? Probably they are reported in other sections for other targets, but we need to interconnect results that are impacting two or more targets (not only of SDG6, but other ones).

    Target 6.6: Protect and restore water-related ecosystems
    OBS: The last question of the last paragraph, could be useful for this target. We have to insist in local monitoring, for detecting experiences of practical action, but also we need tools for measure the landscape level impact.

    Section D. Enabling and accelerating progress towards SDG 6
    The four MoI are clear and even in this order of priority: governance, finance, capacity development, and data acquisition and monitoring. However, I think that we should think in cross institutional sectors to transcend and get the targets. If this programs are only implemented in government instances dedicated to natural resources management, we won’t get significant results. If they are implemented in agricultural sectors, social and educative programs, for example, we could get more significant results.

    Connections to 2030 Agenda.
    I think it may be useful to link every target with the specific targets of other SDG that may be also impacted with SDG6 targets, in order to avoid duplicating tasks or actions for governments, as much as possible, and prioritize actions that can help to solve, at the same time or with a small additional effort, two or more targets.

    Thanks a lot for this opportunity.
    Greetings from Mexico.

  20. Dear all,
    Coalition Eau is the network of French NGOs working in the water and sanitation sector. We welcome this very useful and comprehensive report, and the effort made to reflect all the water related issues, including the interlinkages with other issues. We have identified in the attached document several areas that could be further developed in the report.
    Best wishes,
    Sandra Metayer
    Coordinator, Coalition Eau

  21. Action Against Hunger welcomes the SDG6 Synthesis Report and thanks the opportunity to share our reflections:

    Some positive highlights

    • Effort to deliver a joint UN Report , compiling data from all available sources
    • Focus on progressive realization of the human rights to water and sanitation, indicating that in those countries where a large proportion of the population still lacks even basic services, the initial focus must remain on ensuring that everyone has access to improved drinking water and sanitation services.
    • Recognition that further work is needed to establish a commonly agreed method for assessing affordability, as payment for services should not be a barrier to accessing services.
    • Focus on eliminating inequalities and increasing rates of progress for those furthest behind, if WASH targets are to be met by 2030, including less used criteria for vulnerability like hotspots where outbreak of diseases such as cholera recur.
    • Strong emphasis on interdependency of SDGs and linkages between WASH, food security, nutrition and health.

    Issues that could be further developed

    • Interdependency of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): from recognition to ACTION
    One of the main messages of the Report is the need to understand that Achieving SDG 6 is essential for making progress on all other SDGs and vice versa. Despite the strong rhetoric on the linkages across SDGs and the need for a multi-sectoral approach to the 2030 Agenda, challenges remain in understanding how governments and partners can work effectively across sectors to drive a comprehensive approach to the achievement of social, environment and economic goals. This is why beyond recognizing the important role of water for the realization of the 2030 Agenda, there is a need to ACT on this interdependency and engage the water sector in having a greater impact on other SDGs.
    For example, improving WASH has multiple and diverse health benefits, from reducing the risk of diarrheal disease such as cholera, improve nutritional status or improve the delivery of quality health care in institutions, especially with regard to maternal and newborn health. However, the critical links between these areas are not always taken into account when targeting and prioritizing WASH investments. Encouraging WASH finance and infrastructural actors to take a leading role in engaging with the health and nutrition sectors to integrate information and action in their policies and plans towards SDG 6 and for prioritizing investments in high risk settings such as health care facilities, areas with high prevalence of undernutrition and cholera hotspots could be a concrete example of how working towards SDG6 can have a greater impact on SDG 2 and 3.

    The example of global partnerships that are driving cross-sectoral action could be a useful reference. For example Scaling Up Nutrition and SWA have signed a joint agreement to work on WASH-Nutrition collaboration, including improved dialogue and coordination between sectors within countries.

    • “Leave No One Behind” should not forget people in emergency and conflict settings
    The Report stresses the need to eliminate inequalities and the fact that effective policies, strategies and subsidies must be developed to ensure no one is left behind, which implies going beyond households and increased attention on disadvantaged groups. The report also recommends improving international cooperation and better use of funding. However, insufficient attention is given to the fact that “leaving no one behind” also means not forgetting vulnerable populations that present specific challenges, like refugees, displaced populations, and people in humanitarian crisis and conflicts.
    SGDs ambition towards universal access will not be possible without specific strategies to target these vulnerable populations, including improving the response, coordination and financing of WASH in emergency contexts. The links between emergency mechanisms and development mechanisms need to be strengthened, particularly in the post-crisis phase, in order to provide a structural and sustainable response to people’s WASH needs. In times of stability, crisis prevention and risk reduction measures must be put in place.
    There is also need to better integrate data from humanitarian contexts into SDG monitoring. Finally, specific support is needed for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals for fragile and conflict-affected States.
    • Strengthened water governance at the international level
    Alongside the need to improve water governance at the national level, there is a need to strengthen intergovernmental coordination on all water matters at the UN level, including the participation of all stakeholders, to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals for water and sanitation. Environment ministers adopted unanimously in December a resolution that says, in its paragraph 15: Stresses the need to continue the dialogue at UN level to discuss improving the integration and coordination of the work of the United Nations on the water-related goals and targets.
    • Global baseline status of water related targets and indicators in other SDGs
    It would be interesting to complement this report with information regarding other water related targets across the 2030 Agenda:
    viability of food production systems and drought / flood (2.4), water-borne diseases (3.3), pollution-related diseases and water contamination (3.6), safe schools (4.a), adequate and safe housing and basic services (11.1), water-related disasters (11.5), rational use of resources and risk management (11.b), adaptation to climate change, (12.4), freshwater ecosystems (15.1), land degradation and desertification / drought / floods (15.3).
    • Gender disaggregated data on capacity development and human resources

    The report mentions the lack of capacity, human resource shortages and the fact that several countries are producing national capacity development strategies for the water sector. It would be particularly interesting to have gender disaggregated data

  22. Dear colleagues,

    first of all congratulations and many thanks for this comprehensive and interesting report! We have read you work and discussed it within a group of life cycle assessment and water footprint experts (WULCA:

    While the reports contains a lot of valuable information and suggestions, we noticed that the “water footprint” is mentioned only once in the context of food waste. We can imagine that you receive a lot of comments from different stakeholders who feel that their domain deserves more attention, but we really think that the water footprint can make a relevant contribution to achieving SDG6, because:

    • Especially in Europe policy puts a lot of efforts in managing European water resources and companies focus on reducing the direct water use at European production sites. However, in most cases, this direct water use of companies and European citizens amounts less than 10% of their total water footprints. The majority of water use occurs in global supply chains – partly causing drastic consequences in water scarce developing countries (e.g. cotton production in Pakistan of copper mining in Chile).

    • The water footprint can help identifying local hotspot in global supply chains of companies and trade flows between nations.

    • Based on this companies and policy can develop response strategies, which can reduce water use at suppliers and mitigate water stress in exporting countries. Often it is economically and environmentally more efficient to help reducing water use in supply chains than focusing on the well managed 10% within Europe…

    • In the impact assessment phase of the water footprint method (ISO 14046), local consequence of water consumption are analyzed. These underlying models partly use SDG6 indicators (especially target 6.4, indicator 49 “proportion of total water resources used”) in order to assess the local consequences of water use. There are even impact assessment methods available, which model the consequences of water pollution on the loss of human health – which are directly related to target 3.9.2 “Mortality rate attributed to unsafe water, unsafe sanitation and lack of hygiene”. Hence, it is possible to show the effects of companies’ or nations’ virtual water imports on the SDG6 and SDG3 indicators of the exporting countries.

    • By revealing these interrelations between consumption, water scarcity and human health the water footprint can be an important instrument to analyze the link between SDG 12, 6 and 3.

    We therefore would like to propose considering the role that the water footprint can play in achieving the ambiguous SDG6 targets in future analyses and Synthesis Reports in terms of three aspects:

    1) Monitoring instrument: The water footprint can help analyzing the indirect water use of products, companies or nations caused in global supply chains and trade flows.

    2) Development of response strategies towards SGD6: Rather than focusing on the usually small share of direct water use, efforts should be made to reduce the total water footprint focusing on local hotspots in global supply chains.

    3) Link between water footprint and SDGs: The water footprint can analyze the consequences of business and company decisions on the targets of SDG6 but also on SDGs 3 and 12 and, thus, reveal the interlinkages of different SDGs.

    We hope that this input is useful for your very relevant work. In case you have any questions or if we can be of help, please let us now.

    Your sincerely, and on behalf of WULCA,
    Markus Berger

  23. Dear Team,
    We are thankful to you for the hard work put in to preparing this synthesis report on SDG 6 on water and sanitation for all. However, we have two observations on the report:
    1. Multi-Stakeholder participation leaves out Faith Communities who are Drivers of change!

    Faith-based communities and actors often play a central role in community lives, guiding values, beliefs and behaviours and addressing critical community needs particularly in some of the most water insecure regions of the world. Their vast and structured networks are important means of channeling key messages on sustainable water management, access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. Dr David Nabarro, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, emphasized role of religious communities and faith-based development and humanitarian organizations which he considered distinctive and significant in advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda.
    We are disappointed that there is no mention of this huge network of drivers of change fort he success oft he SDG in general and goal 6 in particular, as water has a strong spiritual significance in almost all the religions. Several humanitarian aid and diakonia /development organisations around the world are faith based organisations and are engaged in addressing the global water crisis.

    2. On Public-Private partnership, ethical principles governing human right to water is not emphasised

    While the report estimates that every year hundreds of billions of dollars are required to address target 6.1 and 6.2 alone and therefore, partnership with public-private is encouraged. However, the report does not take a critical look at the Bottled Water Industries. While the Earth Day had a focus on plastics this year and created awareness among people to become Blue Communities by shunning bottled water where tap water is safe to drink or to look for sustainable alternatives, the report is silent about the menace of bottled water industries.
    Furthermore, it is silent on the privatisation of water sector as is the case in many countries. This is contradictory to the principles of human right to water. While the report admits of existing inequalities in the society which further alienate the vulnerable groups, it is silent about the for profit companies’ possible contributing to this alienation process.

    3. Small scale farmers threatened to be left behind in the implementation and monitoring of SDG 6.4.1. and SDG 6.4.2.

    With regard to water and agriculture (target 6.4 and 6.6), the UN-Water report compiles extensive data, demonstration scope and challenge of achieving SDG 6 and interlinkages to related SDGs by 2030. However, “ Executive summary”, “key messages” and baseline data, do not adequately reflect challenges, opportunities and policy implications related to water use by agriculture.
    Water stress is a major driver of shrinking agricultural land and a key constraint to increasing food production for expanding global demand. Increased pressures on freshwater, destruction of water related ecosystems, combined with extreme whether events and climate change threaten the productivity of both: irrigation agriculture (representing 20 percent of agricultural land) and rain fed agriculture (representing 80 percent of the world’s cultivated area). Therefore, many regions facing water scarcity are forced to scale back irrigation, restore water bodies and inverse the damaged caused by over-extraction of water by irrigation agriculture (WWDR 2018). At the same time water storage and better water management practices in rainfed agriculture are essential to prevent the food and water crisis: Yields in rainfed areas are two- to fivefold lower than achievable with a current rainwater use efficiency at only 35–45% (Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture 2007).

    – The report fails to acknowledge challenges and opportunities related to water use by different farming systems. The responsibility of high input farming systems for the degradation of ecosystems and impacts on water cycles, local water use and food systems are not mentioned. Accordingly, recommendations focus on system immanent agro technical solutions against water stress, such as more efficient and smart irrigation and farming technologies.
    – National level statistics on waters stress used in the baseline section of the Monitoring Report are hiding pressing problems on water catchment levels, affecting many more countries worldwide. Amongst them water rich countries and major agricultural exporters such as Brazil. The report fails to introduce the SDG 6.4.2. Monitoring ladder, which calls for higher resolution data, i.e. modelling and remote sensing data (FAO 2017 Integrated Monitoring Guide for SDG 6. Step-by-step monitoring methodology for indicator 6.4.2 on water stress).

    – Even though mentioned in the interlinkages section (SDG 2.3.) Recommendations and key messages of the report do not even mention the required solutions for achieving better water resource management in rainfed agriculture, such as increased water harvesting and supplementary irrigation, water storage infrastructure, including improving soil moisture retention capacity. This gap is quite remarkable taken into consideration that rural small scale farmers, the group mostly affected by hunger and food insecurity are depending on it. They are threatened to be left behind in the implementation and monitoring of SDG 6.4.1. and SDG 6.4.2.
    – Another major omission remains the inclusion of baseline data on challenges, opportunities and policy implications for sharing of water for the realisation of human rights. This point becomes even more important as SDG 6.4.1. will exacerbate competition for water amongst user groups and put pressure on small food producers. In theory, the increased participation and voice by local user groups (SDG 6b) may promote both sustainability as well as a fair balance of interests. In practice, imbalances in power structures impeach equitable distribution of resources favouring the economically powerful.
    Future reports should focus more on preserving and rehabilitating water catchment areas as a precondition for sustainable water use in regions facing waters stress. This should be reinforced with successful case studies drawn from regions in the global South that suffer from water stress. The reports should provide recommendations for better water management according to ecosystems needs and human rights, in line with recommendations of major UN-reports of the last years (WWDR 2018, WWDR 2012, HLPE 2015, CAWMA 2007)

    Dinesh Suna (In Collaboration with Bread for the World/ Brot für die Welt, Germany ) Coordinator,
    Ecumenical Water Network of World Council of Churches, Geneva &

  24. El informe no presenta recomendaciones sobre cómo alcanzar dichas metas.

    En este sentido el documento debe hacer referencia a las recomendaciones emanadas del Panel de Alto Nivel del Agua (HLPW), convocado por el Secretario General de la ONU y el Presidente del Banco Mundial. Este Panel contó con el apoyo de UNwater y de DESA y sus recomendaciones pueden incluirse como fuente en el inciso “D) Enabling and accelerating progress towards SDG6”.

    Justamente una de las tareas del HLPW fue ir un paso más allá de la recolección de datos y cifras, buscando ofrecer posibles soluciones a los retos que enfrenta el recurso.

    Las recomendaciones del Panel están disponibles, a partir de la página no. 16, en el documento “Making Every Drop Cout” en

  25. The treatment of migration in page 12 of the executive summary and 19 of the report is biased, when it says that “Migrants can place great burdens in countries where existing resources are often limited, poorly managed and overexploited”, as well as in chapter II.A in the Introduction. I

  26. We are writing to you on behalf of GRIPP, the global Groundwater Solutions Initiative for Policy and Practice alliance representing about 30 partners globally with a common aim to advance the agenda of sustainable groundwater management at a local to global scale to contribute to achieving the SDGs.
    With this strong support from a major international initiative, we would like to submit and register our comments on the recently prepared draft SDG 6 Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation (version 02 May 2018) from the perspective of the underlying groundwater and aquifers.
    It is with great appreciation that we notice the increasing recognition of the importance of groundwater for the overall achievement of SDG 6 as well as many other water-dependent SDGs. This has been reflected at global level in various reports as well as in the current draft SDG 6 Synthesis Report on Water and Sanitation. The importance of adequate and sustainable management of groundwater can be seen as a pre-requisite to ensuring that the SDG 6 targets 6.1 (drinking water), 6.5 (integrated management), 6.6 (ecosystems), 6.a – 6.b (cooperation and participation) can actually deliver and finally achieve the intended goals. Conversely, it is crucial to be aware of the interlinkage between SDG 6.2 (sanitation) and groundwater, as sanitation can pose a threat to available groundwater resources through pollution, if not appropriately developed.
    Noting this positive development, we feel the need to carry this recognition of the importance of groundwater into the Key messages of the SDG 6 Synthesis Report and recommend the inclusion of a specific bullet point on groundwater under the Executive Summary, Section F.2 (p.20):
    • “Pro-active groundwater management is key to water security and resilience. Groundwater, the largest freshwater reserve on earth, supplies one third of the global population with drinking water, and up to half of water for irrigation globally and it supports innumerous rivers, lakes and wetlands. Groundwater was instrumental in the progress made on safe drinking water and sanitation targets under Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals. Due to its reliability of access, groundwater is a strategic resource for climate change adaption and disaster risk reduction. Water security, food security, and critical ecosystem health are increasingly undermined by groundwater depletion and degradation, especially where groundwater is sparingly replenished. Goal 6 and other cross-cutting targets within SDG framework cannot be achieved without developing pro-active measures for groundwater management at all levels, including enhanced replenishment, demand management, protection, monitoring, reporting and enforcement.”
    as well as under Key messages, Section B (p. 192):
    • Pro-active groundwater management is key to water security and resilience. Groundwater, the largest freshwater reserve on earth, supplies one third of the global population with drinking water, and up to half of water for irrigation globally and it supports innumerous rivers, lakes and wetlands. Water security, food security, urban security, drought resilience and critical ecosystem health are increasingly undermined by groundwater depletion and degradation, especially where groundwater is sparingly replenished. Poor groundwater quality from inherent arsenic, fluoride and chloride and anthropogenic pollution from agriculture, waste disposal, unsafe sanitation and industrial effluents create long-term irreversible hazards that call for preventative approaches. Developing pro-active measures for groundwater management at local, national and international level, including recharge enhancement, conjunctive management with other water sources, demand management, appropriate land-use measures, monitoring, reporting and enforcement, is imperative and will support sustainable growth and enhancing resilience.
    We further recommend and call upon the representatives of the respective custodian agencies to make an extra effort to further improve the step-by-step methodologies for the monitoring of SDG 6 target indicators – especially with regard to 6.3.2, 6.4.1, 6.4.2, 6.5.1, 6.5.2, 6.6.1 as well as 6.a.1 (with more focus on capacity development), and 6.b.1. The currently proposed methodology generally recognizes the role of groundwater but may need to clearly specify the contribution of groundwater in the weighted calculations and include adequate groundwater measurement and monitoring methodologies to collect necessary data on a regular basis and in a way that can easily be applied at national level.
    GRIPP with its broad coalition of international and national partners is ready and best positioned to provide the necessary technical inputs and assistance in consultation with the respective custodian agencies to further advance the step-by-step methodologies, taking into account groundwater-sound methodologies, and welcomes their initiatives in this regard.
    GRIPP partners also welcome initiatives by national institutions and agencies to assist in the development of nationally adapted processes to develop the needed monitoring infrastructure and data acquisition approaches as well as the capacities to investigate the status of national groundwater assets.
    With this groundwater perspective, we appreciate your efforts to improve progress towards achieving the SDG 6 targets by 2030 and wish to extend our support to the international community as well as to national institutions to improve sustainable groundwater management, importantly through better understanding, reporting and monitoring of groundwater quantity and quality at local to global levels.

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