Goal 14: Life below water

A local fisherman’s boat in the waters off Atauro Island, Timor-Leste. Photo Martine Perret/UN

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and
marine resources

The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. How we manage this vital resource is essential for humanity as a whole, and to counter balance 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, well below a level at which they can produce sustainable yields.

Oceans also absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, and we are seeing a 26 percent rise in ocean acidification since the beginning of the industrial revolution. 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 Sustainable Development Goals create a framework to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from land-based pollution, as well as 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 the challenges facing our oceans.

Protecting our oceans is one of 17 Global Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. An integrated approach is crucial for progress across the multiple goals.

Learn more about the targets for Goal 14.

Our work

Man and water
UNDP in Asia and the Pacific
Water, water everywhere

“It‘s time for the world, and its leaders, to understand how important water is for the future of our people, our economies and for our planet.” Dr. Joakim Harlin, Senior Water Advisor, UNDP Coordinator.more 

UNDP in Namibia
Protecting Benguela together

The BCLME is one of the richest ecosystems on earth but this valuable ecosystem is vulnerable to destruction from human activities such as fishing.more 

UNDP in São Tomé and Príncipe
If oceans were a country...

I recently went diving among some of the amazing coral reefs of Indonesia. Their sheer beauty is beyond description, and their value is beyond calculation. But let’s try to put it in perspective.more 

UNDP in Panama
Fishing provides new jobs
in Panama

Fishermen and women in the small fishing community of Guanábano in western Panama begin their work between three and four each morning.more 

Learn more: Water and oceans

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