Report Assesses Progress on Water-related Ecosystems
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The publication finds that severe water scarcity affects more than 200 river basins annually, with direct impacts on 2.67 billion people.

The loss in natural wetlands is estimated at 42% in Africa, 32% in Asia, 35% in Europe, 59% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 17% in North America, and 12% in Oceania.

Progress on monitoring and reporting indicator 6.6.1 (tracking changes in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time) data is slow.

26 August 2018: A report that assesses progress on water-related ecosystems, which was published by UN Environment on behalf of UN-Water, was launched during World Water Week 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. The publication titled, ‘Progress on Water-related Ecosystems: Piloting the Monitoring Methodology and Initial Findings for SDG Indicator 6.6.1,’ finds that, over the past 100 years, the world is estimated to have lost half its natural wetlands and with this a significant number of freshwater species.

The report emphasizes the value of monitoring and reporting progress on SDG target 6.6, which aims to, “by 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers and lakes” through indicator 6.6.1 (tracking changes in the extent of water-related ecosystems over time), while considering the current state and trends of the world’s water-related ecosystems. The publication presents the first collection of country results that were gathered during the pilot testing of the indicator 6.6.1 methodology, including the use of globally available data from Earth observations. It also outlines how the methodology has evolved through its piloting phase, documenting the lessons learned from country outreach activities into an Inter-Agency Expert Group on SDGs (IAEG-SDG) Tier II indicator methodology.

The publication finds that severe water scarcity affects more than 200 river basins annually, with direct impacts on 2.67 billion people. The loss in natural wetlands is estimated at 42% in Africa, 32% in Asia, 35% in Europe, 59% in Latin America and the Caribbean, 17% in North America, and 12% in Oceania.

Countries should “significantly upscale” in situ monitoring of water quality and quantity.

According to the report, progress on monitoring and reporting indicator 6.6.1 data is slow. It explains that the piloting phase for indicator 6.6.1 revealed significant capacity challenges in monitoring and reporting the changes within water-related ecosystems. It highlights that satellite-based data have an important role to play in filling data gaps, and thus can support decision making in advancing national progress towards achieving target 6.6. The publication underscores that countries should “significantly upscale” in situ monitoring of water quality and quantity.

The report is one of a series of seven reports launched during World Water Week that track progress towards the various targets of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation). It was prepared under the UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG 6, which brings together three complementary initiatives: World Health Organization (WHO)/UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (JMP), Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation-Related SDG Targets (GEMI), and UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS). Financial support for the report was provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). [Publication: Progress on Water-related Ecosystems: Piloting the Monitoring Methodology and Initial Findings for SDG Indicator 6.6.1] [Publication Landing Page] [UN-Water Press Release] [World Water Week Website]


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