Sustainable Development Goal 6

Clean Water and Sanitation

Access to clean water and sanitation is pivotal for achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to good health and gender equality. Yet 2.4 billion people still do not have access to toilets, 1.8 billion must drink faecally contaminated water, and water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population.

UNU approaches water as a core component of sustainable development, one that inherently links livelihoods, ecosystems, populations, and infrastructure. To accelerate action on water, our SDG Policy Support System enables governments to make use of existing and emerging national and international data to automatically build evidence that is fit for policymaking and planning. Our research on water, sanitation, and hygiene, and on wastewater management and reuse, bridges science, policy, and practice to pair innovative technologies with communities in need.

Wakhan Valley
Luis Patron / UNU


Geetha Mohan


"Depletion of water resources, particularly water scarcity, is a serious global threat to human well-being, agriculture, and livestock production. My research at UNU aims to develop sustainable water security practices, ensuring sufficient and accessible water for all."

Caner Sayan


"Justice, equality, and peace are overarching objectives of the 2030 Agenda. Through participatory and non-discriminatory political processes, strong national institutions, and international cooperation, these objectives will be achieved. My work at UNU focuses on how the issues of justice, equality, and peace can be promoted in water policies at the local, national, and international levels to achieve the SDGs."

Lina Taing


"Inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) contribute to acute malnutrition, diarrhea, and respiratory infections, which are among the top killers of youth worldwide, especially young girls. My research aims to address a range of environmental factors contributing to WASH-related mortalities, and to overcome challenges impeding achievement of SDGs 3 to 6."


Water-related Sustainable Development Goals

Water is inextricably linked to the development of all nations, but unsustainable development is placing pressure on our limited water resources. This project aims to support governments in achieving SDG 6 through an online tool that addresses SDG targets in national, institutional, and policy contexts.


Droughts often lead to long-lasting and cascading impacts on different sectors across multiple spatial scales. The GlobeDrought project develops novel approaches for assessing the risk of drought impacts on agricultural systems and water supply at global and regional scales with the aim of informing policy and action.

Water for Sustainable Development

Rural areas in Asia often find their economic activity tied to watersheds. This interdisciplinary project is investigating the role of water in society, economy, and the natural environment to scientifically demonstrate how the achievement of the SDGs, especially SDG 6, will contribute to regional development.