Goal 14: Life below water

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.

Photo Essays

People and Seas: Coastal and Marine Biodiversity in Sindhudurg
People and Seas: Coastal and Marine Biodiversity in Sindhudurg

Sindhudurg , on the coast of Maharashtra is one of 11 ecologically critical habitats in India. Since 2011, a UNDP partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the government of Maharashtra, is supporting efforts to conserve the enormous biodiversity wealth of the coastal area. The partnership is supported by the Global Environment Facility.more 

Protecting the Ocean’s Ambassadors
Protecting the Ocean’s Ambassadors

Since 2009, UNDP in India has partnered with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and the Government of Odisha to conserve large areas of land outside protected areas and develop community conserved areas. Over 6,000 community conserved areas have been identified to support conservation activities in partnership with local communities. more 

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Projects and Initiatives

Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity into Production Sectors in Sindhudurg Coast in Maharashtra
Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity into Production Sectors in Sindhudurg Coast in Maharashtra

The project, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests and financed by the Global Environment Facility, aims to mainstream biodiversity conservation into Sindhudurg coastal district’s production sectors. more 

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve's Coastal Biodiversity
Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve's Coastal Biodiversity

The Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve, home to one of the world’s richest concentrations of marine species is under threat as a result of habitat destruction, over-harvesting of marine resources and civic pollution.more 

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Stories of Change

Conserving Habitats; Protecting Livelihoods: A Women’s Group in Orissa, India Leads the Way
Conserving Habitats; Protecting Livelihoods: A Women’s Group in Orissa, India Leads the Way

UNDP is partnering with the Orissa government to mobilize local communities to conserve natural resources through building sustainable ecosystem based livelihoods and social capital.more 

Easing Troubled Waters: Conserving the Gulf of Mannar’s Biodiversity
Photo: Benoît Marquet/UNDP India
Easing Troubled Waters: Conserving the Gulf of Mannar’s Biodiversity

UNDP has partnered with the Government of Tamil Nadu to demonstrate the possibilities of conserving the environment and encouraging sustainable development processes in the Gulf of Mannar.more 

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