*SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all United Nations Member States in September 2015
Water4allSDGs web application: Purpose and rationale:
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a whole. Progressing towards an SDG target is useful, but it is only by considering all of the SDG targets that we can benefit from the overall coherence of this Agenda. Unfortunately, the 2030 Agenda is not genuinely accessible to non-SDG experts.
One of the key reasons for this is the inherent complexity of the 2030 Agenda, with its 169 targets, some of them divided into several sub-goals. Non-experts need tools to help them take into account all of the SDGs.
A good understanding of the SDG targets is not yet extended among sector-specific practitioners and decision-makers.
Even the most well informed professionals are usually aware of only a few of the major themes of the 17 SDGs or of only a couple of targets that directly concern their business or sector of activity.
This does not allow them to fully benefit from the systemic approach of the SDGs, essential to ensuring that their projects, policies or strategies contribute to sustainable development.
The Water4allSDGs® web application developed by the FWP, makes the contributions of a water-related project, policy or strategy to the various targets of the 17 SDGs visible and easy to understand and communicate.
Water4allSDGs can be used by any initiator or stakeholder of a project, strategy or policy at local or national level or at the level of a public or private organization.
This web application is therefore an assessment tool, designed to help decision-makers to accept, reject, modify, or improve a project (as a whole or one of its components). Indirectly, Water4allSDGs allows users to measure the concrete interactions between SDGs and the importance of not operating in isolated technical silos.
Water4allSDGs provides objective insights for the assessment of a project, policy or strategy taking into account all of the SDGs. Although part of the methodology calls for subjective estimations, it provides much more substantiated assessments than claims about the contributions to the SDGs of any given project or initiative that are made without referring to the precise content of the SDG targets.
Example of an assessment summary of the impacts of a project on the SDGs
The analysis of the development of a drinking water network in a slum is done by first studying the conditions and context as it relates to drinking water via a number of ‘pre-identified situations’.
Water4allSDGs identifies the impacts of the project on the targets of 8 different SDGs and displays them in the form of a horizontal bar chart (see graph below).
Showcase: the development of a drinking water network in a slum.
Water4allSDGs: a methodology transposed into an application
Water4allSDGs® is the name of the web application and of its underlying methodology. This methodology helps users to estimate the proximity of their “project” to a large number of ‘pre-identified situations’ based on their contributions to the SDG targets. Users can make this assessment without any previous knowledge of the SDG targets.
Based on its description, a water-related project is ‘translated’ by Water4allSDGs® into the language of the SDG targets, shedding light on its main potential positive or negative contributions to different SDG targets (while highlighting its most significant contributions to the SDG targets).
The scores provided by this methodology aim to measure the strength of a project’s potential contributions to the various SDG targets (impact scores on specific targets). Scores do not aim to assess a project’s value (i.e. the intrinsic quality of a project based on criteria not explicitly related to the SDGs).
Main highlights of Water4allSDGs:
- The Water4allSDGs application ‘removes’ the complexity of the SDGs for its users, who do not need to be familiar with 2030 Agenda.
- It highlights the positive and negative impacts of a project, policy, or strategy on the targets of the 17 SDGs.
- By assessing the impacts on the SDG targets of a project, policy, or strategy Water4allSDGs® helps decision-makers to accept or modify a ‘project’ according to the SDGs.
- The application highlights interactions between the SDGs and between sectors of activity in specific cases, as well as the importance of not operating in isolated technical silos.
- Water4allSDGs allows project managers to communicate in a solid and rational manner about the impacts of their projects on the SDG targets.
- The application has already been used in March and June 2021 by the international jury of the Dakar 2022 labeling process ( Dakar 2022 Initiative of the 2022 World Water Forum).
- The methodology used by this application can be applied to non water-related sectors.
Watch the recording of the Water4allSDGs® presentation and demonstration webinar that took place on September 21, 2021 (in French). More info about this event here.
Water4allSDGs has been developed by the French Water Partnership with the support of the six French Water Agencies. The application has been developed with the support of the 2019 and 2020 promotions of the Ecole Polytechnique’s Junior Entreprise.