Progress on level of water stress - Global status and acceleration needs for SDG indicator 6.4.2



One of the key premises of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is “leaving no one behind”. To achieve this, the interlinkages between all the 17 Sustainable Development Goals must be articulated well and appropriate actions undertaken 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 central to agri-food systems. This report addresses the importance of reducing water stress, which is a measure of the pressure that human activities exert on natural freshwater resources, and provides an indication of the environmental sustainability of the use of water resources. The path to reduce water stress passes through sustainable agri-food systems.
An important novelty of this report is the presentation of the disaggregation of the indicator by major basins, providing better insights on the sustainability of agricultural systems that may be at risk due to human pressure on land and water.

Alternative water sources such as wastewater, storm run-off and desalination, as well as measures such as water harvesting, can help relieve water stress. Safe wastewater reuse and recycling is a significantly untapped resource for industry and agriculture, but its use must overcome political and cultural barriers.
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