GLAAS: A Tool for Monitoring SDGs and Providing Evidence to Inform WASH Decision-Making

What is GLAAS?

GLAAS, or Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water, is an initiative of UN-Water, and is implemented by WHO. It is part of the UN-Water Integrated Monitoring Initiative for SDG6 (UN-Water, n.d.).

Every two years, GLAAS provides an update on the following areas in relation to the drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector (WHO & UN-Water, n.d.a):

  • Policy frameworks
  • Institutional arrangements
  • Monitoring systems
  • Human resources base, and
  • Finance streams

What is it used for?

The purposes and objectives of GLAAS data collection and reports are to (WHO & UN-Water, n.d.a)

  • Monitor the inputs (such as human resources and finance) and the enabling environment (such as laws, plans and policies, institutional arrangements, monitoring and feedback arrangements) required to extend and sustain WASH systems and services to all, especially the unserved and disadvantaged groups
  • Support country-led processes that bring together the many institutions and actors involved in delivering WASH services
  • Identify drivers and bottlenecks of progress to highlight knowledge gaps and assess strengths and challenges across countries
  • Collect data from countries and external support agencies

GLAAS is beneficial to countries, because it:

  • Provides a useful situation analysis of the WASH sector
  • Identifies information gaps
  • Helps decision-makers define priorities and devise plans
  • Brings different stakeholders together
  • Contributes to SDG monitoring

(WHO & UN-Water, n.d.a)

What does the current GLAAS data tell us about WASH in the Maldives?

GLAAS reports are published every two years (UN-Water, n.d.). The most recent data was published in 2019, providing information on national systems supporting WASH (WHO, 2019).

Latest status in the Maldives, 2019 (WHO, 2019)

  • The Maldives needs to increase urban drinking-water coverage by 17% to achieve national coverage targets for safely managed urban drinking-water services
  • There has been an increase in Government WASH budgets, from USD 12 million reported in GLAAS 2016/2017) to USD 39 million reported in GLAAS 2018/2019

Policies and plans

  • National WASH policies existed for urban and rural drinking-water and sanitation, but none for national level hygiene
  • National WASH implementation plans were under development for urban and rural drinking-water and sanitation, but not for national level hygiene
  • There were no developed cost estimates for WASH plans for urban drinking-water, and urban and rural sanitation

Monitoring and regulation

  • Progress towards national targets were not monitored through government-led processes
  • Joint sector reviewes were not conducted
  • Between 50 – 70% of the required frequency of surveillance on drinking water (urban and rural) conducted
  • Between 50 – 70% of the required frequency of surveillance on urban sanitation conducted
  • Less than 25% of the required frequency of surveillance on rural sanitation conducted
  • Regulatory authorities had not published publicly accessible reports on drinking-water quality and on treated wastewater flows and faecal sludge volumes, however:
    • Nationally, there has been an agreed upon performance indicator on water quality, with baseline data established
    • There has been an agreed upon performance indicators on equitable drinking water service coverage and sanitation, which are tracked against baseline data

Vulnerable populations

  • The human rights to water and sanitation is nationally recognised within the constitution
  • There were no identified measures in national drinking-water and sanitation policies and plans for reaching poor populations
  • There was no use of affordability schemes in drinking-water and sanitation
  • Community participation procedures were defined by law/policy, both at urban and rural level for drinking-water and sanitation and at the national level for hygiene and water resources management


  • Urban and rural financing plans for drinking water and sanitation, and national plans for hygiene were agreed upon and used for some decisions.
  • The government national WASH budget for 2017 was USD 39.1 million
  • The annual national WASH expenditure for 2017 was USD 162.7 million
  • USD 39.1 million of this expenditure was funded by the Government, whilst USD 123.7 million came from external sources

What’s your role?

GLAAS is a multi-stakeholder process, that highlights the importance of including all stakeholders early on in the GLAAS process, as well as throughout it (WHO & UN-Water, n.d.b).

For instance, the GLAAS process includes introductory meetings with key stakeholders, in addition to government representatives, to introduce and advocate for GLAAS. 

These key stakeholders include:

  • WASH line ministries
  • National statistics office
  • Ministries of Finance, Health, Education
  • Drinking water and wastewater regulators
  • Ministry of Water Resources or relevant
  • In country development partners (e.g., donors, NGOs, etc.)
  • Private sector
  • Other focal points of national, regional or global monitoring initiatives

The process also involves the identification of these key stakeholders at the pre-data collection phase, and the involvement of these stakeholders at inception meetings/workshops. Additionally, data for the GLAAS survey is to be collected from various stakeholders. The process also involves the presentation of data and its validation and multi-stakeholder national workshops.

Hence, if you are a key WASH stakeholder, then you have a key role to play throughout the GLAAS process.


UN-Water. (n.d.). UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-water (GLASS). UN-Water.

World Health Organization (WHO) & UN-Water. (n.d.a). Introduction to GLAAS – Module 1: GLAAS 2018/2019 cycle [PowerPoint slides].

World Health Organization (WHO) & UN-Water. (n.d.b). GLAAS process – Module 2: GLAAS 2018/2019 cycle [PowerPoint slides].

World Health Organization (WHO). (n.d.). UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-water and sanitation (GLAAS). World Health Organization.

World Health Organisation. (2019). National systems to support drinking-water, sanitation and hygiene: Global status report 2019. UN-Water global analysis and assessment of sanitation and drinking-2ater: GLAAS 2019 report. Retrieved from

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