Our oceans, our future

Partnering for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14

Logo of the Ocean conferenceThe world has one ocean and its health is critical. Despite its crucial role in contributing to poverty eradication, global food security, human health, economic development and curbing climate change, our ocean is increasingly threatened, degraded or destroyed by human activities, reducing their ability to provide crucial support to our ecosystem. Today, pressures on coastal and marine ecosystems continue to increase, as more communities live along coasts, putting an unsustainable strain on coastal resources. This trend is foreseen to continue given the predicted global population growth.

Already today, 30 per cent of the world’s fish stocks are over-exploited, while more than 50 per cent are fully exploited. Coastal habitats are under pressure, with approximately 20 per cent of the world’s coral reef lost and another 20 per cent degraded. Plastic waste alone kills up to one million sea birds, a hundred thousand sea mammals and countless fish each year. An estimated 80 per cent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. Moreover, vulnerable groups, including the poor, women, children, and indigenous peoples, and coastal communities and countries with a high dependency on the oceans and their marine resources are particularly affected.

The Ocean Conference, the first United Nations conference on this issue, presents a unique and invaluable opportunity for the world to reverse the precipitous decline of the health of the oceans and seas with concrete solutions. The Conference will also promote progress in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which is part of the 2030 Agenda adopted by all 193 UN Member States in 2015. The goal calls for efforts to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. For full conference details visit oceanconference.un.org

UN Chronicle cover

Special Issue of the UN Chronicle: “Our Ocean, Our World”

This special double issue of the UN Chronicle explores many of the problems facing the marine ecosystem, with articles by experts and eminent personalities actively engaged in finding solutions. United Nations Messenger of Peace for climate change, Leonardo DiCaprio, writes about saving the whales and the planet and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity, Edward Norton, urges us to protect the bounty and beauty of the sea.

‘The ocean and us’ - a film produced by BBC Earth