International Policy and Monitoring

The Water Institute’s first six years coincided with major international policy developments: in 2010, the UN recognized the human right to water and sanitation, and in 2015 the Millennium Development Goals were judged a qualified success and superseded by more ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with eight associated water- and sanitation-related targets for 2030.

Achieving universal access to safe and reliable water and sanitation will depend on monitoring that identifies barriers and opportunities, informed policy development, and implementation efforts that ultimately lead to extending and improving services. Effective monitoring requires an international framework that that tackles and reconciles multiple, diverse challenges such as inequalities and cost-effectiveness. Insight into factors that hinder or promote the impact of policies must include the enabling environment: institutions, policies, and regulations, and the influences of social, cultural, political, economic and environmental circumstances on policy, programming, and practice.

The Water Institute’s work generates evidence to inform the transition from the MDG to the SDG period. Our research influenced the addition of the word ‘safe,’ which was not present in the MDGs, and we advocated for universal coverage targets including both household and non-household settings. We now work on providing insight into effective international monitoring and policy, where we seek to understand how institutions, stakeholders, and policies can cooperate to provide safe water and sanitation services.


Examples of projects include: