Sustainable Development Goal 14

Life Below Water

The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation.

SDG 14 Ocean Health

"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."


Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. However, at the current time, there is a continuous deterioration of coastal waters owing to pollution and ocean acidification is having an adversarial effect on the functioning of ecosystems and biodiversity. This is also negatively impacting small scale fisheries.


Marine protected areas need to be effectively managed and well-resourced and regulations need to be put in place to reduce overfishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.


SDG 14 Ocean Health

Facts and Figures

SDG 14 Ocean Health
  • Oceans absorb about 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, buffering the impacts of global warming.
  • Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people depending on the oceans as their primary source of protein.
  • Subsidies for fishing are contributing to the rapid depletion of many fish species and are preventing efforts to save and restore global fisheries and related jobs, causing ocean fisheries to generate US$50 billion less per year than they could.
  • 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.

Information cited from the UN

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