Ideally, monitoring systems are nationally controlled, with all relevant stakeholders from the community level to national government contributing and using the data. This will require national strategies, protocols, definitions and monitoring systems to be set up or reviewed to ensure that they are collecting and responding to data appropriately and are fit for purpose.
Data collected and reported should be transparent and shared in accessible formats with sub-national government areas to improve targeting, as well as to communities.
Government-led national and sub-national monitoring systems will require both strategic planning and appropriate budgets. Assessments of capacity, resources and use of the system to ensure data reliability, utility and uptake is also recommended.
Challenges to establishing and strengthening these are numerous. For example, lessons from some countries where sanitation has become a political and administrative priority indicate that figures can be inflated for political gain or sub-national governments may misreport to gain favour from national level actors.
Furthermore, best ways to monitor and verify city-wide and area-wide sanitation initiatives including assessments of both enabling environments and progress up the sanitation ladder are still not clear. There are also challenges regarding local level human resource capacity.