Prior to 1990, reports on the global status of water-supply and sanitation were issued regularly by WHO using information provided by country agencies and ministries of health. The information was primarily obtained through questionnaires.
During the International drinking-water Supply and Sanitation Decade 1981-1990, the UN mandated WHO to report on progress in access to water-supply and sanitation services. By the end of the decade, it was recognized that a better system was needed to monitor progress at the country level, ideally one that could be used as a management tool for monitoring and influencing sector development. As a result, WHO and UNICEF, launched the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) in 1990.