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Home » Blog » ESG Fundamentals » SDG 14: Unveiling the Deep Importance of Life Below Water

SDG 14: Unveiling the Deep Importance of Life Below Water

SDG 14

According to the UN, the ocean is in an emergency state as increasing eutrophication, acidification, ocean warming, and plastic pollution worsen its health. UN states that plastic is the most harmful type of marine litter, and its 2X or 3X growth by 2040 will further clog the ocean. So, SDG 14, or Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development, stands as a critical call to action to protect this vital resource.

What is SDG 14?

Sustainable Development Goal 14 goes beyond simply protecting our oceans; it emphasizes their sustainable use. Healthy oceans are teeming with life, providing vital resources like seafood, and are crucial to weather patterns and climate regulation. By focusing on conservation and sustainable practices, SDG 14 aims to ensure the health of our oceans for future generations.

Here’s a breakdown of SDG 14’s specific targets:

14.1 – Reduce marine pollution: This ambitious target aims to significantly cut back on all forms of marine pollution by 2025, particularly from land-based activities like plastic waste and nutrient pollution

14.2 – Sustainable management of marine ecosystems: Protecting and sustainably managing marine and coastal ecosystems is crucial for maintaining healthy fish populations and overall ocean health.

14.3 – Minimize ocean acidification: Ocean acidification, caused by increased carbon dioxide absorption, threatens marine life. Sustainable Development Goal 14 targets minimizing its impact and mitigating its effects.

14.4 – Sustainable fishing practices: Overfishing is a significant threat to marine ecosystems. This target promotes responsible fishing practices and implements science-based management plans to restore and ensure healthy fish populations for the future.

14.5 – Conserve coastal and marine areas: Protecting almost 10% of coastal and marine areas as per national/international laws and relying on the best available scientific information is vital for biodiversity conservation.

14.6 – Combat illegal fishing: Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing subsidiaries undermine sustainable fishing efforts and depletes fish stocks. SDG 14 targets eliminating this harmful practice.

14.7: Enhance Economic Benefits for Developing Countries: Increase the economic benefits for developing states and least developed countries by supporting sustainable practices in fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism. This ensures they can share in the prosperity generated by healthy oceans.

14.a: Knowledge and Technology Sharing for Ocean Health: Expand scientific knowledge, develop research capacity, and transfer marine technology as per the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines to improve ocean health and enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries.

14.b: Empowering Small-Scale Fishers: Provide small-scale artisanal fishers with secure access to marine resources and markets. Empowering these communities strengthens food security and improves livelihoods along coastlines.

14.c: Effective Ocean Governance Through International Law: Implement and enforce international law on ocean conservation and sustainable use. This promotes a global framework for responsible ocean governance, ensuring all nations cooperate to protect our shared oceans.

Why is SDG 14 So Important?

Our oceans are under immense pressure. Overfishing, pollution (particularly plastic pollution), and climate change are pushing marine ecosystems to the brink. According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF’s) Living Planet Report 2022, ocean wildlife populations have declined by an alarming 69% since 1970.

The consequences of a failing marine environment are dire. Degraded ecosystems lead to biodiversity loss, food insecurity for millions who depend on seafood, and increased coastal erosion. Furthermore, healthy oceans play a vital role in regulating our climate by absorbing carbon dioxide. A failing ocean ecosystem will only exacerbate climate change.

The interconnectedness of the SDGs becomes evident here. Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14 is critical for the success of other crucial goals like poverty reduction (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), and climate action (SDG 13).

Industry Examples of SDG 14 in Action

Here are some inspiring examples showcasing how organizations are working towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14:

The Ocean Cleanup: This non-profit organization tackles plastic pollution in oceans by developing innovative technologies to extract plastic waste from rivers and oceans.

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC): The MSC is an independent organization that certifies sustainable fishing practices, empowering consumers to make informed seafood choices.

Seychelles’ Marine Protected Areas: The Seychelles has established vast marine protected areas, showcasing how effective conservation efforts can lead to a thriving marine ecosystem and support sustainable tourism.

These are just a few examples. Numerous organizations worldwide are working tirelessly to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14. Their success stories demonstrate the positive impact we can have on our oceans when we work together.


The health of our oceans is paramount to our planet’s well-being and our own. By understanding the importance of SDG 14 and supporting initiatives working towards its goals, we can all play a vital role in protecting this precious resource. From making sustainable seafood choices and reducing plastic consumption to advocating for ocean conservation policies, there are numerous ways we can contribute.

Collaborate with our experts today to ensure a healthy and vibrant future for life below water.


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