Indicator Name, Target and Goal
Indicator 6.b.1: Proportion of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management
Target 6.b: Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Definition and Rationale
This indicator is defined as the percentage of local administrative units (as defined by the national government) that have established and operational policies and procedures by which individuals and communities can participate in decision making on water and sanitation management.
Local administrative units refer to non-overlapping sub-districts, municipalities, communes, or other local community-level units covering both urban and rural areas as defined by the government.
Policies and procedures for participation of local communities suggest presence of formal/legal mechanisms to ensure participation of users in planning water and sanitation activities.
Formal or legal mechanisms are considered operational if they are implemented, with appropriate funding in place, and have means for verifying that participation took place.
Water and sanitation-related activities and programmes include those for water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) (targets 6.1,6.2), wastewater and water quality (6.3), water efficiency (6.4), water resource management (6.5), and water-related ecosystem (6.6).
Rationale and Interpretation:
Participation of local communities is vital to ensure the needs of all the community are met, including the most vulnerable and also encourages ownership of schemes which in turn contributes to their sustainability. Defining the procedures in policy or law indicates a degree of formalization and consistency in the implementation of these procedures.
A low value of this indicator would suggest that participation of local communities in water and sanitation management is low, whereas a high value would indicate high levels of participation, indicating greater ownership and a higher likelihood of sustainable delivery and management of water and sanitation services.
Data Sources and Collection Method
Potential data sources or monitoring mechanisms that could be used by national governments to collect this data include the following:
For some countries, data for the numerator and denominator for this indicator are also collected through the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) survey, which collect statistics on of donor funds that were included in the government budget.
A draft survey response is compiled by an appointed focal point based on input from stakeholders, and is then finalized through a national multi-stakeholder review. Ministries with responsibilities related to finance, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, water resources development and management, environment, and foreign affairs would contribute to the survey response.
Method of Computation and Other Methodological Considerations
The percentage of local administrative units with established and operational policies and procedures for participation of local communities in water and sanitation management (PLAP) is calculated as follows:
Comments and limitations:
As the indicator is computed as a percentage of local administrative units, it does not reflect the percentage of the population covered by policies and procedures for community participation.
As local administrative units are defined country-by-country, the population covered by each unit may vary widely within and between countries. There may be large discrepancies within a country on the population per local administrative unit between urban and rural areas. Consequently, the comparability of this indicator between countries is limited.
There is a degree of subjectivity in what constitutes an “established and operational” policy or procedure, as well as on the definition of “participation”. Further study is currently ongoing to better define these concepts regarding community participation.
Policies and procedures are often established at the central level, but operationalization is not always monitored centrally. In addition, established and operational policies and procedures do not necessarily lead to high levels of participation.
The indicator does not necessarily correlate with quality of water and sanitation management: High community participation does not always lead to better water and sanitation management, and low participation does not indicate that water and sanitation management is poor.
The indicator does not capture informal participation procedures, which may be just as effective as those that are formally defined.
Proxy, alternative and additional indicators:
The past several cycles of the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water (GLAAS) survey have included a question on the presence of clearly defined procedures in laws or policies at the national level for local participation in planning programmes, as well as on the extent of participation (low/moderate/high). Responses are disaggregated for urban and rural sanitation, urban and rural drinking water supply, hygiene promotion, and water resources management. The following data are available:
The OECD Water Governance Indicator Framework, launched in March 2018, includes indicators on stakeholder engagement to appraise the existence and level of implementation of legal frameworks to engage stakeholders in water-related decision making ( Principle 10). The indicator can inform on community participation.
This indicator is not required to be disaggregated but it can be disaggregated by subsector (urban/rural drinking-water and sanitation, water resources management).
Official SDG Metadata URL
Internationally agreed methodology and guideline URL
OECD. Water Governance Programme. Paris. Internet site: http://www.oecd.org/env/watergovernanceprogramme.htm
OECD (2018), Implementing the OECD Principles on Water Governance: Indicator Framework and Evolving Practices, OECD Studies on Water, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264292659-en.
OECD (2015a). OECD Principles on Water Governance. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/gov/regionalpolicy/OECD-Principles-on-Water-Governance-brochure.pdf
OECD (2015b). Stakeholder Engagement for Inclusive Water Governance. OECD Studies on Water, OECD Publishing. Paris. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264231122-en
UN-Water (2008). Status Report on Integrated Water Resource Management and Water Efficiency Plans at CSD 16. Available at: http://www.unwater.org/publications/status-report-integrated-water-resource-management-water-efficiency-plans-csd-16/
UN-Water (2012). Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches Water Resources Management. Available at: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/pdf/un_water_status_report_2012.pdf
UNEP-DHI. 2012 Status Report on the Application of Integrated Approaches to Water Resource Management: Database. Available at: http://www.unepdhi.org/rioplus20
UNEP-DHI (2016). GEMI: Integrated Monitoring of Water and Sanitation Related SDG Targets – Draft Survey Questionnaire for Indicator 6.5.1. Available at: http://www.unepdhi.org/whatwedo/gemi
International Organization(s) for Global Monitoring
This document was prepared based on inputs from World Health Organization (WHO) and Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).
For focal point information for this indicator, please visit https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/dataContacts/