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United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goal for the Oceans

Publication Year: 2017 Publisher: Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)


The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its comprehensive set of 17 interlinking Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a unique opportunity to advance ocean sustainability. The development of a robust implementation framework for the Sustainable Development Goal for the Oceans (SDG 14) is a critical step towards this overarching objective.

The degradation of the marine environment has thus far outpaced the development of the international ocean governance landscape, while the capacity of domestic measures and policies to deliver sustainable outcomes has been limited by the transboundary nature of impacts affecting marine environments. The 2030 Agenda provides the opportunity to address complex ocean sustainability challenges through regionally coordinated cooperation across sectors and with a broad spectrum of actors.

2017 could become a landmark year for efforts to put the world’s oceans on a pathway towards sustainability. Complemented by numerous regional and national initiatives, the UN Ocean Conference in June and the EU-hosted Our Ocean Conference in October are important opportunities for the international community to establish a firm foundation for future action and to agree on tangible measures to reverse the cycle of declining ocean health. While there is no lack in global ambition, the global community should now agree on concrete steps to develop coherent regional and international implementation frameworks for achieving oceans sustainability.