SDG 14

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources
The fourteenth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

Life Below Water

Aims to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.”.

Let's learn a little more about SDG 14.

  • Targets 10 Targets
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  • Overview
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  • Targets

Why Is It Important To Conserve and Sustainably Use the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources?

SDG 14 covers life below water and provides goals to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources. At the core of this SDG is a fundamental appreciation of the interconnectedness of life on our planet, that life below water determines life above it as well.

A vast majority of the marine ecosystems are part of an irreplaceable and universal heritage of humankind called the “global commons”. In his 2022 Peace Proposal SGI President  Daisaku Ikeda shares: “The resources we all require in order to survive, and flourish are together known as the “global commons” ... The global commons encompass the high seas and the North and South Poles, none of which fall under the sovereign purview of any single nation, as well as the atmosphere and global ecosystem, resources that are essential for humanity to survive and thrive. Their protection for the sake of present and future generations must be a matter of highest priority.”

It is the ocean which drives global systems and makes the earth habitable for humankind. The sea reg...

It is the ocean which drives global systems and makes the earth habitable for humankind. The sea regulates rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, food, and even the oxygen in the air. Therefore, careful management of oceans, seas and marine resources is essential towards a sustainable future. Presently however, there is continuous deterioration of coastal waters due to pollution, and ocean acidification is having a negative impact on the proper functioning of ecosystems and biodiversity. This also affects small scale fisheries. Thus, saving the ocean is very important. Further, marine biodiversity is quintessential to the health of people and our planet. Marine protected areas require to be effectively managed, well-resourced and regulations need to be established to reduce overfishing, marine pollution and acidification of ocean. 

Systemic and local efforts are key. Establishing comprehensive, effective and equitably managed systems of government-protected areas plays an important role in biodiversity conservation and ensures a sustainable future for the fishing industry. Local efforts such as making ocean-friendly choices while buying products, selecting certified products, eliminating plastic usage and spreading the message on the importance of marine life also supplements the systemic efforts towards achieving this Goal.


What Progress Has Been Made So Far In Terms of Conserving and Sustainably Using the Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources?

  • Between 2012 and 2018, 104 out of 220 coastal regions improved their coastal water quality.
  • At the end of 2018, 17% of waters under national jurisdiction were covered by protected areas, an increase from 12% in 2015 and more than double the level in 2010. 
  • Mean percentage of Marine Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) covered by protected areas rose from 31.2% in 2000 to 45.7% in 2018.

How Can I As An Individual Apply Sustainable Human Behaviour To Achieve These Targets For SDG 14 To Help Achieve The Goal Of Life Below Water?

  • Avoid discharging harmful chemicals from home such as chemical detergents, and using only organic products which do not impact the water quality and thereby the life below water.
  • Educate oneself about the different causes of water pollution and spread awareness with one’s family members and peers.
  • Avoid dumping of any external object including plastics in rivers and other water bodies such as beaches, all of which negatively impact the water quality and the life below water.
  • Minimising, and if possible, eliminating, the use of plastic products, including bottles, bags, straws, etc. 
  • Dispose off our plastic waste correctly into blue bins and not in the open 
  • Using public transport and energy-efficient appliances (like 5-star ACs) which reduce emission of greenhouse gases responsible for the acidification of our oceans.

Did You Know These Facts About SDG 14 – Life Below Water?

  • 97%

    Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, contain 97 percent of the Earth’s water, and represent 99 percent of the living space on the planet by volume.

  • 30%

    Oceans absorb about 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.

  • 90%

    The ocean has also absorbed more than 90 percent of the excess heat in the climate system.

  • 3 Billion

    Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods.

  • $3 Trillion

    Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion per year or about 5 percent of global GDP.

  • 200 Million

    Marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ over 200 million people.

  • 20%

    Coastal waters are deteriorating due to pollution and eutrophication. Without concerted efforts, coastal eutrophication is expected to increase in 20 percent of large marine ecosystems by 2050.

  • 80%

    Roughly 80 percent of marine and coastal pollution originates on land – including agricultural run-off, pesticides, plastics and untreated sewage.

  • 5 Trillion

    Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year.

  • 680 Million

    Around 680 million people live in low-lying coastal zones – that is expected to increase to a billion by 2050.

  • 80%

    Sustainable and climate-resilient transport, including maritime transport, is key to sustainable development. Around 80 percent of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries.

Targets For SDG 14 – Life Below Water Set By The United Nations

  • By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.

    Target 14.1
  • By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans.

    Target 14.2
  • Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels.

    Target 14.3
  • By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time possible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.

    Target 14.4
  • 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.

    Target 14.5
  • By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which 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.

    Target 14.6
  • 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.

    Target 14.7
  • 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, in order 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.

    Target 14.A
  • Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.

    Target 14.B
  • 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.

    Target 14.C

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