Informed decision-support systems (DSS) and data analytics techniques are essential for sustainable development, in particular for improved planning, management and monitoring of water and energy services and resources (SDG6 and SDG7). The use of DSS enable more open, transparent and accountable decision-making by optimizing the use of available data and guiding stakeholders in taking appropriate action towards better water and energy services delivery.
EScGD strives to support evidence-based decision-making for Water, and specifically water, sanitation and hygiene, WASH, and Energy. The specific problems we are trying to address range from improving the availability and access to data, to the design of planning tools that turn this data into actionable, strategic decisions. Some of the tools and processes to support decision analysis we have developed include: (i) an indicator framework for water infrastructure and service delivery as a tool for sectoral information and planning in rural Tanzania, (ii) a human rights-focused methodology for monitoring access to water and sanitation services in rural Nicaragua, (iii) a WASH poverty composite index for local-level targeting and prioritization in Kenya, and (iv) an environmental monitoring system in Andean river basins.
EScGD is now working on four research lines related to the monitoring and reporting of targets 6.1 and 6.2:
-The construction and application of Bayesian networks in order to capture the increasing complexity of the key elements that determine access to water, energy and their interlinkages.
-The development of methods and techniques for monitoring the sustainability of WASH services in dispersed rural contexts, where there is a general lack of information on access levels.
-The incorporation of uncertainty and precision in WASH DSS, in particular multi-criteria decision analysis tools, in order to avoid misleading assumptions and policy decisions.
-The use of compositional data approaches for monitoring basic services at local and sub-state level, which is crucial for improving the statistical analyses of available data.
In addition, EScGD is also working towards an improved understanding of multi-dimensional water poverty and new urban vulnerabilities arising from the context of SDGs. In the last years, we have collaborated with the UPC’s Centre for Development Cooperation in different participatory initiatives aiming to diagnose and evaluate the access of vulnerable and marginalized groups to WASH services, both in urban and rural. We are also part of the Water and Poverty Research Network (WAPONET), which goal is to bring together knowledge, experiences and best practices acquired at a national level in the area of water poverty.
EScGD has developed a strategic partnership with Applied Research for Development (AR4D), a UPC spinoff resulting with the purpose of technological transfer to international institutions, development organizations and local stakeholders. Other partners include Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) and the World Bank (WB). We are currently aiming to extend our research and partnerships to the Mediterranean region.