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Goal 14 – Life Below WateR

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Recognising the critical issues facing our oceans, the United Nations put in place the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

SDG #14 – Life Below Water is an urgent call for action, action for a sustainable future for our oceans and therefore our planet.

How does BLUE align with SDG14?

We started making BLUE in 2015 when WWF had just released its Living Blue Planet Report stating half of all marine life has been lost in the last 40 years, and that by 2050 there would be more plastic in the sea than fish.

The same year (2015) countries around the planet adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BLUE tells the story our generation needs to hear. The film’s themes directly align with SDG14 including: preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution; minimising and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification; ending unsustainable and illegal fishing practices; and setting aside and conserving more coastal and marine protected areas.

BLUE’s overarching themes are to sustainably manage and protect our most precious resource now and as a legacy for future generations to come.


No water, no life. No blue, no green.

- Sylvia Earle

Why is SDG14 so important?

We are dependent on ocean health for our very survival. The temperature, chemistry, currents and life of the world’s oceans drive our planet’s global systems. The very systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. How we sustainably manage our most vital resource is essential for humanity as a whole.

How you can take action

The most important function of the SDGs is they provide a road map of what needs to be done and why. They provide a set of goals that can be applied to individuals, communities and organisations. They provide a way to evaluate what we are doing towards a sustainable future. Our future.

It’s important to note that some of the goals are actually set pretty low as they are global goals, taking into account small island nations, developing and developed countries. It’s a framework of guidelines that can be adapted to your community, your country, your region. Not all goals may apply but the important thing is to note that a line has been drawn in the sand. Think how your local community, local council, workplace, school, business, can put actions in place to align with SDG14.

SDG14 Goals – Life Below Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want

Facts and Figures

— The ocean covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface and represents 99 percent of the living space on the planet by volume.

— The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may lie in the millions.

— The ocean covers three quarters of the Earth’s surface and represents 99 percent of the living space on the planet by volume.

— The ocean absorbs about 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, shielding the impacts of global warming.

— We are seeing a 26 percent rise in ocean acidification since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

— 80% of marine litter is from land-based sources

— Over three billion people on the planet depend on marine eco-systems for their livelihoods and for their main source of food, yet 30 percent of the world’s fish stocks are overexploited. They are now below the level at which they can produce sustainable yields

— Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5 percent of global GDP

— Eight million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year and never truly goes away. An average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter to be found on every square kilometre of ocean