Goal 14: Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Oceans and marine resources represent a vital source of livelihood for a large proportion of the human population; providing environmental, economic and social benefits. Environmental degradation, pollution and climate change has put marine ecosystems and marine biodiversity at risk of deterioration and depletion.  Unsustainable fishing practices have seen a continuing trend of declining global fish stocks.

The UN states that: 'the ocean absorbs around 23% of the annual emissions of anthropogenic carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, helping to alleviate the impacts of climate change'. However, new data shows that: 'there has been an increase in variability in pH and the acidity of the oceans by 10 to 30 per cent in the period 2015–2019'.

Climate change has resulted in the deterioration of coral reefs, which are home to some of the world's most unique biodiversity; through a process of bleaching caused by algae that is released when the water becomes too warm. In some cases, the coral can be killed and this threatens the marine animals that depend on coral reefs for survival, including some species of sea turtles, fish, crabs, shrimp, jellyfish, sea birds, starfish, and more.

By 2025, Goal 14 aims to 'prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution'. It also seeks to address the issue of ocean acidification through global scientific cooperation; and promote marine conservation through sustainable use of oceans and their resources through the establishment of international law.

Australia's Progress towards Goal 14

The Transforming Australia: SDG Progress Report provides key information about how Australia is progressing towards achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Visit the Transforming Australia website to see Australia's progress towards Goal 14.

Do you want to know how to achieve the SDGs?

MSDI has partnered with McMaster University to create the world's most comprehensive repository of research evidence. Click here for the latest evidence and research from around the world aligned with Goal 14.

How is Monash finding ways to protect our marine environment for future generations?

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