Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development – the 14th SDG goal presented by the United Nations organization under a strategy called Sustainable Development Goals.
The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents, and life – drive global systems that make Eartharth habitable for humankind. How we manage this vital resource is essential for humanity and counterbalance the effects of climate change.
Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. However, today we are seeing 30 percent of the world’s fish stocks overexploited, reaching below the level at which they can produce sustainable yields.
Oceans also absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, and we see a 26 percent rise in ocean acidification since the beginning of the industrial revolution. In addition, marine pollution, an overwhelming majority of which comes from land-based sources, is reaching alarming levels, with an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter to be found on every square kilometer of ocean.
The SDGs aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution and address the impacts of ocean acidification. Enhancing conservation and the sustainable use of ocean-based resources through international law will also help mitigate some of our oceans’ challenges.
Sustainably use the oceans – Goal Targets
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including strengthening their resilience and taking action for their restoration to achieve healthy and productive oceans.
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.
By 2020, conserve at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information.
By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries in particular, small island developing States and least developed countries.
Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want.