Water and Sanitation Interlinkages across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2016)

This brief analyses the central role of water and sanitation to describe the links and interdependencies between the targets of SDG 6 on water and sanitation and those of other SDGs.

Primary Functions

  • Stimulates UN Member States’ consideration of the water-related linkages within the Goals to facilitate an integrated approach to implementation.
  • Highlights the importance of mainstreaming water and sanitation in the policies and plans of other sectors.

Detailed Description


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) acknowledges the integrated and indivisible nature of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets and recognizes the need to address these interlinkages to fully achieve its aims. The water and sanitation Sustainable Development Goal, Goal 6, links across all the other 16 Goals. This UN-Water Analytical Brief provides an overview of the target-level linkages and how they are interdependent; many targets cannot be achieved without also meeting the targets under Goal 6, and vice versa. This Analytical Brief also summarizes the links and interdependencies between the targets under Goal 6 itself.

The 2030 Agenda stresses the importance of “leaving no one behind”, and this can only by achieved if the interlinkages between the Goals are understood and actions are undertaken to bring them together for the benefit of all, including addressing socioeconomic and gender inequalities. A human rights-based approach would support these aims.

Understanding the linkages enables countries to implement the Goals and targets effectively by harnessing synergies between them while managing any potential conflicts. The vast majority of target-level linkages across the 2030 Agenda with Goal 6 are positive, because implementing the Goal 6 targets mutually supports a large number of other targets, and vice versa.

Policies and institutional arrangements may have to be modified to facilitate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. This will vary from country to country depending on local circumstances – political, geographic and economic – so there are no universal solutions. Nevertheless, there are broad principles that can help with implementing the 2030 Agenda and UN-Water may prepare some Policy Briefs to guide implementing agencies to take forward some of the aspects discussed in this Analytical Brief.




Topics & SDGs

WWF Mitigation

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