GOAL 6 Clean Water and Sanitation
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
SDG 6 calls for ensuring universal access to safe and affordable drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and ending open defecation. It also aims at improving water quality and water-use efficiency and encouraging sustainable abstractions and supply of freshwater.
Protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems such as forests, mountains, wetlands and rivers is essential for mitigating water scarcity, as is the implementation of integrated water resources management.
More international cooperation is also needed to support developing countries in water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes and to help local communities improve water and sanitation management.
Monitoring SDG 6 in an EU context focuses on progress made in sanitation efforts, in improving water quality and in increasing water use efficiency.
Education for Sustainable Development Goals
Suggestions for the development of specific sustainability competencies from the action-oriented, transformative educational and learning outcome-oriented guide Education for Sustainable Development Goals, UNESCO (2017)
Suggested learning objectives
Cognitive learning objectives
- The learner understands water as a fundamental condition of life itself, the importance of water quality and quantity, and the causes, effects and consequences of water pollution and water scarcity.
- The learner understands that water is part of many different complex global interrelationships and systems.
- The learner knows about the global unequal distribution of access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.
- The learner understands the concept of “virtual water”3 .
- The learner understands the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and other strategies for ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation, including flood and drought risk management.
Socio-emotional learning objectives
- The learner is able to participate in activities of improving water and sanitation management in local communities.
- The learner is able to communicate about water pollution, water access and water saving measures and to create visibility about success stories.
- The learner is able to feel responsible for their water use.
- The learner is able to see the value in good sanitation and hygiene standards.
- The learner is able to question socio-economic differences as well as gender disparities in the access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.
Behavioral learning objectives
- The learner is able to cooperate with local authorities in the improvement of local capacity for self-sufficiency.
- The learner is able to contribute to water resources management at the local level.
- The learner is able to reduce their individual water footprint and to save water practicing their daily habits.
- The learner is able to plan, implement, evaluate and replicate activities that contribute to increasing water quality and safety.
- The learner is able to evaluate, participate in and influence decision-making on management strategies of local, national and international enterprises related to water pollution.
The global water cycle and water distribution.
The importance of equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water (achieving water security under climate change: e.g. coping with social and economic pressure caused by frequent waves of droughts and hence water shortages, and by floods and hence too much water).
The importance of adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene, water quality and quantity parameters for health.
The human right to water and water as a global common good Impacts of pollution, dumping and release of hazardous chemicals and materials on water quality Water scarcity and water use efficiency Importance of water-related ecosystems.
Water- and sanitation-related activities and programmes, including water harvesting, desalination, water efficiency, wastewater treatment, recycling and reuse technologies, water patents, landscaping for groundwater recharge as well as integrated water resources management.
Water exports (virtual water) Water and sustainable development (e.g. water and gender, water and inequality, water and health, water and cities, water and energy, water and food security, water and disaster risk reduction, water and climate change, water and the green economy, water and jobs).
Examples of learning approaches and methods
Calculate one’s own water footprint (WF) 4
Develop a concept for local sustainable water use and supply based on success stories.
Develop school partnerships between schools in regions with abundance or scarcity of water.
Organize excursions and field trips to local water infrastructures, and monitor water quality at school and home.
Plan and run an awareness campaign or youth action project on water and its importance.
Develop a project work on the invisible water, e.g. how much water in a litre of beer, a kilo of beef, a teeshirt, etc.
Develop an enquiry-based project: “What human activity can happen without water?”
Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations
Targets and Indicators of Goal 6