International Waters learning Exchange & Resource Network

What is a goal and what is an objective?

Goals explain what you want to achieve in your water system - think of them as a target to be reached, or hit. They are usually long-term and represent global visions such as “reduce pollution by…..” or “increase biodiversity by…..”

Whereas Objectives define strategies or implementation steps to attain the identified goals – think of them as the ball you shoot towards your goal. Unlike goals, objectives are specific, measurable, and have a defined completion date. They are more specific and outline the “who, what, when, where, and how” of reaching the goals.

In terms of the SAP, the Goals are long-term targets to achieve the vision and reduce the impact of each transboundary problem. Conversely, the objectives are strategies or implementation steps to achieve the goals. The Objectives are developed from the outputs of the next step in the process - Brainstorming Innovative Ideas, Opportunities and Solutions to Meet the Goals.