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Comments on Revised Working Draft of Indicators for

Sustainable Development Goal 6 on water and sanitation

Bread for the World (a key supporter of the Ecumenical Water Network) recently submitted comments on the November 2014 revised working draft of indicators for Sustainable Development Goal 6, which addresses water and sanitation.


The revised working draft is below:


Revised working draft – November 25, 2014


Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all


Potential and Illustrative Global Reporting Indicators


:

Indicator 49: Percentage of population with access to safely managed water services, by urban/rural (modified MDG Indicator)

Rationale and definition: This indicator measures the percentage of the urban and rural population with access to safely managed drinking water services, as defined by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme. This ambitious indicator goes beyond the previous “basic drinking water” indicator as it has been designed to incorporate an assessment of the quality and safety of the water people use.”

Households are considered to have access to safely managed drinking water service when they use water from an improved source with a total collection time of 30 minutes or less for a round trip, including queuing. The term ‘safely managed’ is proposed to describe a higher threshold of service -- for water this includes measures for protecting supplies and ensuring water is safe to drink.107

107 See Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), (2014), WASH POST-2015: proposed targets and indicators for drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene.

108 UNESCO Water World Assessment Programme. See: http://webworld.unesco.org/water/wwap/wwdr/indicators/pdf/F4_Access_to_safe_drinking_water.pdf

109 WHO-UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, (2013), “Post-2015 WASH Targets and Indicators.”

Lack of safe drinking water is a major cause of illness and mortality, as a result of exposure to infectious agents, chemical pollutants, and poor hygiene. Inadequate access to water in the home is also a source of economic disadvantage by requiring large commitment of human resources to fetching and carrying water.108

An improved drinking water source is a source or delivery point that by nature of its construction or through active intervention is protected from outside contamination with fecal matter. Improved drinking water sources can include: piped drinking water supply on premises; public taps/stand posts; tube well/borehole; protected dug well; protected spring; rainwater; and bottled water (when another improved source is used for hand washing, cooking or other basic personal hygiene purposes).109

Disaggregation: By urban/rural. Further opportunities for disaggregation to be reviewed.

Comments and limitations: The monitoring methodology for this indicator is ready and being piloted in several countries. Where the data is unavailable, we suggest that countries may, an interim basis, continue to use the “basic drinking water” indictor, defined as the percentage of population using an improved source with a total collection time of 30 minutes or less for a roundtrip including queuing.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair: TBD.

Primary data source: Household surveys.

Potential lead agency or agencies: WHO, UNICEF, and other members of the Joint Monitoring Program collect data for this indicator. To the extent possible, the collection and reporting mechanisms should be fully integrated in the national statistical systems.


Indicator 50: Percentage of population using safely managed sanitation services, by urban/rural (modified MDG Indicator)

Rationale and definition: The indicator measures the percentage of the population in urban and rural areas with access to safely managed sanitation services, as defined by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme. This ambitious indicator goes beyond the pre-2015 “improved sanitation” indicator.

Safely managed sanitation services are those that effectively separate excreta from human contact, and ensure that excreta do not re-enter the immediate environment. This means that household excreta are contained, extracted, and transported to designated disposal or treatment site, or, as locally appropriate, are safely re-used at the household or community level. Each of the following types of facilities are considered adequate if the facility is shared among no more than 5 households or 30 persons, whichever is fewer: a pit latrine with a superstructure, and a platform or squatting slab constructed of durable material (composting latrines, pour-flush latrines, etc.); a toilet connected to a septic tank; or a toilet connected to a sewer network (small bore or conventional).110

110 Ibid.

111 UN DESA, (2007b), Indicators of Sustainable Development: Guidelines and Methodologies – Methodology sheets, New York: United Nations. http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/natlinfo/indicators/methodology_sheets/poverty/improved_sanitation.pdf.

112 UNESCO, (2011), Global Challenge of Wastewater: Examples from Different Countries. Presentation at World Water Week in Stockholm, August 21-27, 2011.

Access to adequate excreta disposal facilities is fundamental to decrease the fecal risk and the frequency of associated diseases. The use of improved sanitation facilities reduces diarrhea-related morbidity in young children and also helps accelerate economic and social development in countries where poor sanitation is a major cause for missed work and school days because of illness. Its association with other socioeconomic characteristics (education, income) and its contribution to general hygiene and quality of life also make it a good universal indicator of human development.111

Disaggregation: By urban/rural. Further opportunities for disaggregation to be reviewed.

Comments and limitations: N/A.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair: TBD.

Primary data source: Household surveys.

Potential lead agency or agencies: WHO, UNICEF, and other members of the Joint Monitoring Program collect data for this indicator. To the extent possible the collection and reporting mechanisms should be fully integrated in the national statistical systems.


Indicator 51: [Percentage of wastewater flows treated to national standards, by domestic and industrial source] – to be developed

Rationale and definition: Lack of treatment of domestic and industrial wastewater presents a serious health and environmental hazard in many cities, particularly in developing countries where 80-90% of urban wastewater is untreated or insufficiently treated when discharged.112 Even in developed countries wastewater is not universally treated. Global rates of wastewater generation are increasing at an exponential rate as a result of rapid population growth and urbanization. A huge volume of untreated wastewater is dumped directly into water sources, threatening human health, ecosystems, biodiversity, food security, and the sustainability of water resources.113

113 Ibid.

114 Corcoran, E., C. Nellemann, E. Baker, R. Bos, D. Osborn, H. Savelli (eds), (2010), Sick Water? The central role of waste-water management in sustainable development, A Rapid Response Assessment, United Nations Environment Programme, UN-HABITAT. GRID-Arendal. See: www.grida.no

115 Ibid, and UNESCO, (2011).

116 See UN DESA, (2007a).

For this reason we propose that an indicator on wastewater treatment be added to the post-2015 monitoring framework. There are many ways to define wastewater. Broadly defined, wastewater is a combination of one or more of: domestic effluent consisting of blackwater (excreta, urine and fecal sludge) and greywater (kitchen and bathing wastewater); water from commercial establishments and institutions, including hospitals; industrial effluent, storm water and other urban run-off; agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture effluent, either dissolved or as suspended matter.114

Wastewater treatment is the process of removing suspended and dissolved physical, chemical, and biological contaminants to produce (a) water that is safe to be discharged to the environment or suitable for reuse and (b) a solid sludge suitable for disposal or reuse (e.g. as fertilizer). Using advanced technology, it is now possible to re-use used water after treatment for agricultural purposes, industry or even as drinking water.115

Disaggregation: By municipal and industrial wastewater, by city.

Comments and limitations: The global community has only recently started working to build a common vision on wastewater management. Currently, it is estimated that 80% of effluent flows are not monitored, so data availability will be a challenge.

Primary data source: Administrative data.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair: B

Potential lead agency or agencies: To be determined, options include WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), UNEP, and UN-Habitat.


Indicator 52: Percentage of total water resources used (MDG Indicator)

Rationale and definition: This MDG Indicator measures the water stress and is defined as the total volume of groundwater and surface water abstracted from their sources for human use (e.g.in sectors such as the agricultural, the industrial or municipal use), expressed as a percentage of the total annual renewable water resources. This indicator shows whether a country abstracts more than its sustainable supply of freshwater resources. It can be used to track progress in the sustainable, integrated, and transparent management of water resources.

Disaggregation: Since the indicator can be disaggregated to show the abstractions by sector (also showing use efficiencies for each sector), it can help identify and manage competing claims on water resources by different users.116

Comments and limitations: Many countries do not have good assessments of their aquifer volumes and recharge/discharge calculations, so important efforts will need to be made to improve data gathering. Ideally the indicator should be calculated for individual water basins since demand and supply need to be balanced at the basin level.


In addition,

This indicator does not measure progress towards the important issue of increasing water-use efficiency. Public policies must try to address water stress and manage water resources sustainably, while satisfying all different demands.

Preliminary assessment of current data availability by Friends of the Chair: B

Primary data source: Administrative data.

Potential lead agency or agencies: The FAO and/or UNEP can help collect data at the country level.117

117 For more information see: http://www.fao.org/ag/aquastat


Complementary National indicators that countries may consider:

  • 6.1. Percentage of population reporting practicing open defecation. This indicator measures population not using any sanitation facility and is a strong measure of poverty.
  • 6.2. Percentage of population with basic hand washing facilities in the home. This indicator measures access to soap and water at hand washing facilities in the home, using WHO-UNICEF JMP definitions.
  • 6.3. Proportion of the population connected to collective sewers or with on-site storage of all domestic wastewaters
  • 6.4. Percentage of pupils enrolled in early childhood development programs providing basic drinking water, adequate sanitation, and adequate hygiene services. This indicator measures access to drinking water, gender separated sanitation facilities, and hand washing facilities in schools, using WHO-UNICEF JMP definitions.
  • 6.5. Percentage of beneficiaries using hospitals, health facilities, and clinics providing basic drinking water, adequate sanitation, and adequate hygiene. This indicator measures access to drinking water, gender separated sanitation amenities, and hand washing facilities for patients in health facilities, using WHO-UNICEF JMP definitions.
  • 6.6. Proportion of the flows of treated municipal wastewater that are directly and safely reused
  • 6.7. [Reporting of international river shed authorities on trans-boundary river-shed management]— to be developed. Rivers, as well as other freshwater ecosystems, are crucial for human survival. They are also very rich in biodiversity. Rivers travel across borders and within each country, they are subject to damming, pollution, and reservoirs. A suitable indicator must be developed to measure progress towards a sustainable trans-boundary management of rivers.
  • 6.8. [Indicator on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)] - to be developed: this indicator will track the implementation of integrated water resources management at all levels, and through transboundary cooperation as appropriate.
  • 6.9. [Indicator on international cooperation and capacity building in water and sanitation-related activities] - to be developed
  • 6.10. [Indicator on participation of local communities for improving water and sanitation management] - to be developed

Recommendations on the post-2015 global development agenda

(drawn from the EWN July 2013 statement)


1. The international community and national governments must make firm commitments to provide universal access to water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities as part of the post-2015 global development agenda.

2. Those commitments should include early goals for access by rural residents, the poor and other marginalized groups to address their unacceptably low level of access to water and sanitation.

The international community and national governments should commit to cut the percentage of rural residents, the poor and other marginalized groups without access to adequate drinking water supply, hand-washing and sanitation facilities at home by 50% by 2025. Further, the international community and national governments should commit to provide universal access by the poor and other marginalized groups to adequate safe, drinking water supply, hand-washing and sanitation facilities at home by 2030. These goals are necessary to address the asymmetries and inequalities that plague provision of water and sanitation, with some groups being inadvertently or deliberately excluded from access to water and sanitation. The goals for rural residents, the poor and other marginalized groups must reflect affordability, sustainability, and supply drinking water of sufficient quantity and adequate quality, as measured by specific indicators, to meet the human right to water and sanitation of these systematically advantaged groups.

3. Those commitments should include the features necessary to secure the benefits of water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities. These features include:

a. Access for all residents, including refugees and other excluded communities.

b. Access to affordable, relatively continuous, and sustainable services, as measured by specific indicators.

c. Access to safe drinking water in sufficient quantity and quality to meet drinking and other personal needs to be safe (initially as measured by the JMP proposed definitions for “intermediate” access).

d. Access to drinking water at home with a collection time of 30 minutes or less per person.

e. Access to hand-washing and menstrual hygiene facilities as well as hygiene education.

f. Access to water, sanitation, and hygiene services concurrently to the greatest extent feasible to realize the maximum benefits of those services.

4. The commitments of national governments and the international community with respect to water should include strong goals related to sustainability including:

a. Eliminating groundwater mining

b. improving water efficiency by all sectors

c. Recycling water

d. Balancing water supply and demand primarily through water conservation efforts

e. Safe management and disposal of excreta

f.  Managing watersheds and treating wastewater so that surface waters are safe for humans, fish, and other aquatic creatures and can be rendered drinkable with minimal treatment.

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