Global, 26 August 2023 (TDI): Encompassing 80 percent of our planet’s surface, the oceans play a vital role in offering sustenance, energy, and water resources.
Notably, the ocean absorbs approximately a quarter of the globe’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This action serves as a crucial mitigating factor against climate change, working to alleviate its far-reaching consequences.
However, a range of unsustainable human activities, including overfishing and marine pollution, combined with the challenges of global warming, rising sea levels, acidification, and coastal erosion, have inflicted severe damage on these invaluable resources.
Promoting the blue economy is vital for economic prosperity & ocean conservation, offering a roadmap for a sustainable future for generations to come.
— UN Environment Programme (@UNEP) August 26, 2023
Goal 14 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focuses on the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans, seas, and marine resources.
These immense bodies of water, covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, are indispensable.
They provide essential resources such as food, energy, and water, while also serving as a critical carbon dioxide sink, mitigating climate change and its associated impacts.
Despite their vital role in supporting life, our oceans and seas are under threat due to human activities, leading to harmful consequences for billions of people. This includes a troubling rise in eutrophication, ocean acidification, warming, and plastic pollution. Furthermore, overfishing continues unabated, resulting in the depletion of over one-third of global fish stocks.
Today, only 11% of the world’s treated wastewater is reused, and around half of the world’s untreated wastewater still enters rivers, lakes and seas.
— United Nations (@UN) August 26, 2023
Targets for Goal 14
Goal 14 outlines specific targets that require swift and coordinated global action. These measures encompass.
By 2025 Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution, with a particular focus on pollution from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
By 2020 Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems, enhancing their resilience and taking restorative actions to ensure the health and productivity of oceans.
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, fostering enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.
By 2020 Effectively regulate harvesting and eliminate overfishing, illegal and unreported fishing, and destructive fishing practices. Implement science-based management plans to restore fish stocks quickly.
By 2020 Conserve at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas, adhering to national and international legal frameworks and utilizing the best available scientific knowledge.
By 2020 specific forms of fisheries subsidies contributed to overcapacity and overfishing.
Eliminate subsidies that fuel illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing and abstain from introducing new such subsidies. Recognize the importance of equitable treatment for developing countries in the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation.
By 2030 Increase economic benefits for Small Island developing States and least developed countries through the sustainable utilization of marine resources, including fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.
Enhance scientific knowledge, build research capacity, and facilitate the transfer of marine technology, with a focus on improving ocean health and promoting marine biodiversity in developing countries, especially small island developing States and least developed countries.
Provide access to marine resources and markets for small-scale artisanal fishers. Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by adhering to international law, as outlined in UNCLOS.
These targets underscore the urgent need to protect and sustainably manage our oceans for the benefit of current and future generations. Goal 14 is a pivotal element of our global sustainability efforts, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding our oceans as a cornerstone of our shared future.