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Global coalition calls on UN to provide accurate data on water and sanitation

Published on: 04/07/2017

WHO/UNICEF will publish the new indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 6 on July 13th, 2017. 

The civil society coalition End Water Poverty (EWP) has criticised a recent report by the United Nations Secretary-General on progress towards the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals. EWP said the UN report should be withdrawn because it lacked understanding and analysis of SDG 6, which aims to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

The UN report did not provide data on accessibility, safe management and water quality as defined in SDG 6, says EWP in a press release. Instead the report presented “old”, less meaningful data on access to improved drinking water sources and improved sanitation facilities, which were used as indicators for the previous Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

EWP is a coalition of water, sanitation, and hygiene organisations from around the world including IRC, Water For People and WaterAid. IRC’s Catarina Fonseca is an elected member of EWP’s Steering Committee.

In response to EWP’s criticism, the UN Division for Sustainable Development (UN-DESA) told IRC that the data on the new SDG indicators were not available in April 2017, the cut-off date for data submission to the UN report. “For the particular indicators in question, the WHO/UNICEF JMP produces global updates every two years and the 2017 update on safely managed water and sanitation indicators will not be published until 13th July following extensive country consultations”. Updates on the 2017 SDG 6 baseline process are published on www.sdg6monitoring.org.

The new SDG 6 indicators will be included in the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017, UN-DESA said. The SDG report will be launched during the Ministerial segment of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on sustainable development from 17-19 July 2017. SDG 6 itself is not on the agenda of the 2017 HLPF. That will happen at HLPF 2018, when the theme will be “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.

At the international level UN-Water coordinates SDG 6 monitoring. The figure below shows how the SDG 6 sub-indicators are assigned to three UN initiatives: the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP), the inter-agency initiative GEMI and UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS).

SDG 6 Integrated Monitoring. UN-Water