Sustainable management of water resources and access to safe water and sanitation are essential for unlocking economic growth and productivity, and provide significant leverage for existing investments in health and education. The natural environment e.g. forests, soils and wetlands contributes to management and regulation of water availability and water quality, strengthening the resilience of watersheds and complementing investments in physical infrastructure and institutional and regulatory arrangements for water access, use and disaster preparedness. Water shortages undercut food security and the incomes of rural farmers while improving water management makes national economies, the agriculture and food sectors more resilient to rainfall variability and able to fulfil the needs of growing population. Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems and their biodiversity can ensure water purification and water quality standards.

UNEP is working to develop a coherent approach to measuring water-related issues included through. All the SDG indicators under Goal 6 are coordinated by UN Water and UNEP actively works with UN Water and the UN Water partners on these indicators. UN Water has developed a data portal as a hub for SDG 6. Additionally, the Global Environmental Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6 acts a coordinating initiative for all SDG 6 methodologies (all SDG 6 methodologies, including the ones UNEP has developed are available as part of this initiative).

Sustainable Development Goal 6 goes beyond drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to also address the quality and sustainability of water resources, which are critical to the survival of people and the planet. The 2030 Agenda recognizes the centrality of water resources to sustainable development and the vital role that improved drinking water, sanitation and hygiene play in progress in other areas, including health, education and poverty reduction.


To learn more about UN Environment Programme's contributions to SDG 6: