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Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation

Eight targets for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water
Includes sanitation and hygiene for all, and an to end open defecation with special
attention to the needs of women and girls

Goal 6 of the development agenda talks about ensuring availability and sustainable
management of water and sanitation; eight specific targets have been formulated to achieve
universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for
all, to end open defecation with special attention given to the needs of women and girls as well
as to improve the quality of water by reducing pollution and minimizing the release of waste and
chemicals, etc. Efforts are needed to ensure water efficiency across all sectors and to reduce
the number of people suffering from water scarcity through the participation of local

In October 2015, the Planning Commission of Pakistan and the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to launch the SDGs and
to establish SDG centers to regularly review progress, at the federal level as well as in the four
provinces. In July this year, the Ministry of Climate Change collaborated with UNICEF to host a
national consultation workshop to track the implementation of Goal 6 related targets. While
these efforts are commendable, past experience does not bode well for likely success as
ground realities are very harsh. When people are dying on a daily basis from drinking
contaminated water and in many cases, there is a total absence of water in their areas, this
demonstrates inadequate municipal water supply and sanitation leading to deteriorating health
standards. With urban water demand and industrial demand increasing by 95pc between
2001 and 2025 because of increases in population, falling water flows and erosion in storage
capacities, much work needs to be done.
How can we expect those sitting far away and dependent on mineral water for their good
health to formulate policies providing clean and safe tap water fit for everyday
Sanitation is altogether absent in cities with people using the sides of the roads and green
spaces as toilets a common sight with hardly any toilet facilities available for men and far fewer
for women. The most important take-away from this development agenda is that all goals and
targets are integrated and not divisible, thus a lack of progress on any goal, for example, Goal 6
can have repercussions for those related to health, education, climate change, etc.
Provincial governments must be held accountable to ensure that all Pakistanis have access to
clean drinking water by 2030. One way to track progress at the highest level without intruding
into the domain of provincial governments is for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to convene a
meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on a quarterly basis with a permanent first
agenda item being the evaluation of the progress each province has achieved on SDGs.
Water and sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development, critical to the
survival of people and the planet. Goal 6 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking
water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources

Integrated water resources management, one of the follow-up actions to the Plan of
Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation), aims to address this urgent situation. In 2012, 65 per cent of the 130
countries that responded to a survey question on integrated water resources management
reported that management plans were in place at the national level.

6.3 By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing
release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater
and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally

6.5 by 2030 implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through
transboundary cooperation as appropriate.

6.6 By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests,
wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes

6.5.1 Degree of integrated water resources management implementation (0-100)

6.5.2 Proportion of transboundary basin area with an operational

arrangement for water cooperation
48. [Indicator on water resource management] to be developed
6.5 by 2030 implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through
transboundary cooperation as appropriate.
The Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach aims to coordinate the
development and management of water, land, and related resources to maximize equitable
economic and social welfare.
IWRM is a crucial component of broader water resources management, which also includes the
protection of water- related ecosystems, water use efficiency, and water scarcity (covered
across our framework). IWRM policies and plans should be implemented nationally, regionally,
and through transboundary cooperation and across sectors as appropriate.
49. Proportion of total water resources used (MDG Indicator)

This MDG Indicator measures water stress and is defined as the total volume of groundwater
and surface water abstracted (withdrawn) from their sources for human use ( sectors such
as agriculture, industry, or municipal), 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.


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, and in different geographical locations.

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.

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.