A multi-criteria decision analysis framework to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 on Water and Sanitation

2018 edition

Fatine Ezbakhe

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, also know as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is an ambitious plan of action for ‚Äúpeople, planet and prosperity‚ÄĚ to tackle the challenges society is facing, and so is the goal dedicated to water and sanitation (SDG 6). The goal aspires to ‚Äúensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all‚ÄĚ and plays a key role in realising the agenda.

Although at the core of sustainable development, SDG6 can be difficult to achieve due to its complex and often conflicting interactions with other goals. For instance, water is needed for food, energy and industrial production, all which generate wastewater and may cause pollution if not properly managed. Besides, water is needed to ensure health ecosystems, which can improve the quantity and quality of freshwater and, consequently, palliate the effects of climate change in water scarce regions. This cross-cutting nature and interlinked nature of the water sector calls for a high level of coordination to harness synergies as well as to manage possible trade-offs.

To ensure sustainable access of water and sanitation for all, we need to design and implement approaches and policies that address the water challenges from a multi-dimensional perspective. In this sense, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) tools can support decision-makers in the identification and design of strategic options, while tackling their diverse and potentially conflicting characteristics.

The objective of my PhD work is to establish and manage a multi-criteria decision analysis framework to contribute towards the 2030 Agenda. Well-informed decision-making in the water and sanitation sector can guide effective allocation of resources, enhance the transparency of the planning and policymaking process, as well as stimulate political commitment. The specific objectives of the PhD are to:

  • Develop methodologies and tools to analyse SDG 6 indicators.
  • Raise awareness at national and global levels about SDG 6 decision-making.