Development, Pilot Testing & Validation of Monitoring Methodology for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 6.3

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    Project Manager :
    Mathew Kurian

    Project Overview

    This project is being undertaken in collaboration with UNHABITAT, Custodian agency for SDG Target 6.3. The project aims to develop, pilot-test and validate a monitoring methodology for Target 6.3. The approach adopted towards developing the Wastewater Reuse Effectiveness Index (WREI) as a monitoring tool for SDG Target 6.3 was endorsed by 11 countries who participated at a workshop organized by UNHABITAT, UNU-FLORES and ACWUA at the 2017 Arab Water Week. The tool was subsequently pilot-tested in collaboration with the State Secretariat of Water Resources and Sanitation in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The tool was revised in response to comments received during the pilot-testing meeting in Brazil. A monitoring guide documenting the three- year collaboration with UNHABITAT for development, validation and pilot-testing of WREI as a monitoring tool was presented at the Expert Group Meeting on SDG 6.3 organized by WHO and UNHABITAT (UN co-custodian agencies) in Geneva in March 2018. In response to request for scientific validation of the proposed WREI methodology at EGM in Geneva the following paper was shared: Kurian M. 2017. The Water-Energy-Food Nexus- Trade-offs, Thresholds and Transdisciplinary Approaches to Sustainable Development, Environmental Science and Policy, Vol. 68, pp. 96-107, Elsevier.

    The multi-year effort was supported by three regional consultation workshops that were organized to facilitate the process. Partners who support the initiative include the Ministry of Construction, Government of Vietnam, Arab Countries Water Utilities Association (ACWUA), Jordan, University of Minho, Portugal, Livelihoods and Natural Resources Management Institute, India, Institute of Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Japan and University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. 

     Project Description 

    The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.3 articulates the challenge of wastewater management in the following fashion: By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardouschemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and at least doubling recycling and safe reuse globally.

    The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 6.3 explicitly encourages the use of wastewater. For the effective monitoring of such global goals, political buy-in by Member States is crucial. Moreover, data gathering for monitoring purposes must incorporate both biophysical, as well as institutional and socioeconomic dimensions of wastewater use. UNHabitat, as the co-custodian of Target 6.3, has received requests from several UN Member States to provide guidance on monitoring strategies for wastewater resources. The SDGs emphasise the need for robust data and bottom-up approaches to monitoring that recognises interconnections between a range of sectors and environmental resources. This is aligned with the Nexus Approach, which encourages the reuse of environmental resources, considering the interconnections between water, soil, and waste. Applying a Nexus Approach, the UNU-FLORES Nexus Observatory initiative responds to the needs of the UN and its Member States by encouraging political buy-in while also building capacity for data gathering in a manner that is holistic and responds to needs of decision makers at global, regional, and national levels. 

    The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed between UNHabitat and UNU-FLORES aims to develop, test, and validate a monitoring methodology for SDG Target 6.3. In May 2016 a regional consultation in Asia, supported by the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Ministry of Construction resolved to develop such a methodology. UNUFLORES and UNHabitat have since worked closely to develop a prototype monitoring methodology– the Wastewater Reuse Effectiveness Index (WREI). The approach guiding the methodology of the Wastewater Reuse Effectiveness Index (WREI) was endorsed by 11 countries at the 2017 Arab Water Week in Amman, Jordan. Preliminary discussions between UNU-FLORES and the State Secretariat of Sanitation and Water Resources of São Paulo, Brazil indicate support for pilot testing this methodology for monitoring SDG Target 6.3.

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