Between 2019 and 2020, the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH), the United Nations Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD/DSDG/UNDESA), the Ministry of Environment, Republic of Korea (MOE), the Korea Environment Corporation (K-eco) and national partners from Costa Rica, Pakistan, and Tunisia delivered the second phase of the project “Water in the World We Want”. During this phase, project partners launched the SDG 6 Policy Support System (SDG-PSS) online in four languages (English, French, Spanish, and Korean), developed an online course to address capacity building, and engaged with more countries from Africa and the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean through regional workshops. At total, 34 countries have now used the SDG-PSS in different capacities and contributed to its improvement by sharing their experiences and challenges.
Lessons learned during the second phase suggest that missing data and evidence on the enabling environments of SDG 6 may undermine progress needed to achieve this ambitious goal by 2030. If countries aim to assure a sustainable future, water experts and development actors need to work with the evidence already available while addressing those gaps to ensure policy and decision makers are equipped with coherent action plans. The SDG-PSS is a tool developed to tackle this challenge by allowing countries producing multisectoral evidence and highlighting the missing evidence on key dimensions of the enabling environments of all SDG 6 targets and indicators. During this phase, the SDG-PSS has helped project partners recognize the significance of discussions around the enabling environments of SDG 6 and make advancements in the understanding of challenges to achieve SDG 6 targets and indicators.
The continual development of SDG-PSS, however, will require the engagement of more countries in the project and strong collaboration between new countries and those already using the tool. In the next phase, project partners should aim to improve the support given to countries currently committed to the use of the tool while expanding its implementation to new countries. Regional workshops can be organized in the next phase to engage with more water experts and development actors to promote collaboration and ensure knowledge exchange and effective use of the tool to inform policy and decision makers on the enabling environments of SDG 6.
Experience gained by project partners throughout the regional workshops also indicates that the SDG-PSS must be improved in the next phase. Users of the tool have provided their feedback and suggestions, highlighting challenges and opportunities. New features can be added to improve the reporting segment, while the questionnaires can be revised for refinement. User accessibility can be enhanced through the inclusion of additional languages as new countries partake in the project. The tool will have the potential to integrate multi-dimensional understanding and knowledge surrounding SDG 6 to streamline progress. More opportunities for capacity building and advanced training can be developed to guide users through the tool and to lead the discussions within the community of SDGPSS partners. In other words, the project advancement must continue capturing countries’ needs and challenges and addressing them with improvements for assuring that the SDG-PSS remains effective and reliable.