Progress on change in water-use efficiency - Global status and acceleration needs for SDG indicator 6.4.1



The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development stresses the importance of “leaving no one behind”.
This can only be achieved if the interlinkages between its 17 SDGs are adequately articulated and appropriate actions are undertaken to bring them together for the benefit of all.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is supporting the 2030 Agenda through the transformation to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable agri-food systems for better production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life - leaving no one behind.
The transformation of agri-food systems is at the heart of FAO’s mandate and at the core of FAO’s Strategic Framework 2022-2031.

Water is the essence of life and at the core of the agri-food systems. The path to water efficiency passes through sustainable agri-food systems. This report shows the progress in the monitoring of indicator 6.4.1 ”Change in water-use efficiency over time” for which FAO is custodian, in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) global report. It reveals that there is opportunity to further increase water-use efficiency in all sectors, including agriculture, the world largest water user. It also identifies recommendations for acceleration towards the achievement of the SDG target of sustainable water use.

Water productivity gains, good governance and a coordinated holistic policy framework are major entry points for actions needed to address water challenges in agri-food systems. Better knowledge of water resources and their use and management, innovation and capacity building are fundamental in order to develop instruments for defining and implementing appropriate policies.

FAO joined the Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG6 (“Clean Water and Sanitation”) in 2015, coordinated by UN-Water, which has gathered experiences and resources aimed at ensuring a coherent monitoring framework for water and sanitation by 2030. Such a framework will help countries achieve progress through well-informed decision-making on water, based on harmonized, comprehensive, timely and accurate information.

FAO, predominantly through its AQUASTAT database, remains committed to improving the quality and quantity of data produced and analysed, in close partnership with the relevant national authorities of our Members. In coordination and collaboration with other stakeholders, FAO will continue supporting Members to achieve this target by providing scientific and technical assistance.

Qu Dongyu
FAO Director-General