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."

Shyama V. Ramani

Shyama V. Ramani


"To attain the SDGs, there’s not only a need for public investment, but also the participation of systemic stakeholders. My work at UNU deals with incentive designs to nudge cooperation between diverse actor groups — including in the water sector. Sustainable development is not purely about outcomes, but also about values of democracy, respect, and integrity."

Nidhi Nagabhatla


"Water is not just a natural resource. It’s the source of life, evolution, development, and peace. We need to understand the larger merit in truly valuing water. My work at UNU supports integrated thinking on the water security agenda to inform policy, programmes, and investments in the water sector."


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.

Unconventional Water Resources

Commonly used water resources, such as rainwater or river runoff, will not be sufficient to meet the growing demand for water in water-scarce areas. This project is helping to trigger international and regional cooperation across UN Member States to build and share a global vision to harness the potential of unconventional water resources and technologies.

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.