Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Series: Goal 14



Goal Fourteen: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development


This goal focuses on various aspects of coastal and marine health, including sustainable fishing, pollution, and tourism. This is another goal which expands the depth of the SDGs beyond that of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which focused very broadly on environmental sustainability without getting into specifics in this way.

According to the Ocean Health Index, Africa scored a 63 out of 100 in 2014 for the overall health of its coastlines and waters. The index assesses the health of oceans of 221 regions based on 10 goals; biodiversity, clean waters, sense of place, tourism/recreation, livelihoods economies, coastal protection, carbon storage, natural products, artisanal fishing and food provision.

In Africa, the sustainable management of marine resources is a significant factor for sustainable development. According to this World Bank report, rural fishing communities throughout the continent that are dependent on the services provided by coastal and marine ecosystems are often poor, vulnerable and likely to suffer most from environmental change. The target here, as outlined in target 14.4, is to effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices by 2020, as well as to implement science-based management plans in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible.


Proposed Targets:

14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution

14.2 By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans

14.3 Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels

14.4 By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics

14.5 By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information

14.6 By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation (1)

14.7 By 2030, increase the economic benefits to small island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism

14.a Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries

14.b Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets

14.c Ensure the full implementation of international law, as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for States parties thereto, including, where applicable, existing regional and international regimes for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by their parties


  1. Taking into account ongoing World Trade Organization negotiations, the Doha Development Agenda  and the Hong Kong ministerial mandate.

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