UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Ocean

In January 2016, member states of the United Nations adopted a series of 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. These ambitious and interconnected goals - each with its own set of targets - are expected to guide national development plans through the year 2030.

One of the goals, SDG Goal 14 (titled “Life Below Water”), focuses on the oceans and coasts. It calls on nations to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” While SDG 14 is the only goal devoted solely to marine issues, numerous other goals — including eliminating poverty and hunger (SDGs 1 and 2), ensuring decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), and combating climate change and its impacts (SDG 13) — also depend on or influence ocean health.

Under SDG 14 are ten specific targets, including reducing marine pollution (Target 14.1), minimizing and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification (Target 14.3), ending overfishing and destructive fishing practices (Target 14.4), conserving coastal and marine areas (Target 14.5), and providing access to small-scale artisanal fishers to resources and markets (Target 14.B).

The list below includes articles from MEAM and MPA News on how the SDGs will impact ocean planning and MPAs, respectively. The literature items and blog provide further exploration of the relationship between the development goals and sustainable ocean management.

MEAM article

MPA News article