SDG 14: Life Below Water

What’s the goal here?

To conserve and sustain-ably use the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources.


Oceans provide key natural resources including food, medicines, biofuels and other products. They help with the breakdown and removal of waste and pollution, and their coastal ecosystems act as buffers to reduce damage from storms. Maintaining healthy oceans supports climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. And have you been to the sea-side? It’s also a great place for tourism and recreation.

Even more, Marine Protected Areas contribute to poverty reduction by increasing fish catches and income, and improving health. They also help improve gen-der equality, as women do much of the work at small-scale fisheries.

The marine environment is also home to a stunning variety of beautiful creatures, ranging from single-celled organisms to the biggest animal ever to have lived on the Earth–the blue whale. They are also home to coral reefs, one of the most diverse eco-systems on the planet.

So what can we do?

For open ocean and deep sea areas, sustainability can be achieved only through increased international cooperation to protect vulnerable habitats. Establishing comprehensive, effective and equitably managed systems of government-protected areas should be pursued to conserve bio-diversity and ensure a sustainable future for the fishing industry.

On a local level, we should make ocean-friendly choices when buying products or eating food derived from oceans and consume only what we need. Selecting certified products is a good place to start.

Making small changes in our daily lives, like taking public transport and unplugging electronics saves energy. These actions reduce our carbon footprint, a factor that contributes to rising sea levels.

We should eliminate plastic usage as much as possible and organize beach clean-ups. Most importantly, we can spread the message about how important marine life is and why we need to protect it.