Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources


Goal 14 is about conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources. Healthy oceans and seas are essential to human existence and life on Earth. They cover 70 per cent of the planet and provide food, energy and water. The ocean absorbs around one quarter of the world’s annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, thereby mitigating climate change and alleviating its impacts.

It is essential to conserve and sustainably use them. Yet, human activity is endangering the oceans and seas – the planet’s largest ecosystem – and affecting the livelihoods of billions of people.

COVID-19 response

Ocean conservation and action should not come to a halt while we tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to look at long-term solutions for the health of our planet as a whole. Our lives depend on a healthy planet.

The health of the ocean is intimately tied to our health. According to UNESCO, the ocean can be an ally against COVID-19:  Bacteria found in the depths of the ocean are used to carry out rapid testing to detect the presence of COVID-19. And the diversity of species found in the ocean offers great promise for pharmaceuticals.

The pandemic offers an opportunity to revive the ocean and start building a sustainable ocean economy. A report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific suggests that the temporary shutdown of activities as well as reduced human mobility and resource demands due to the COVID-19 pandemic may provide marine environments the much-needed breathing space for them to start to recover.

The UN Ocean Conference, originally scheduled for June 2020, will take place from June 27-July 1, 2022. 

The Ocean Conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, comes at a critical time as the world is seeking to address many of the deep-rooted problems of our societies laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic and which will require major structural transformations and common shared solutions that are anchored in the SDGs. To mobilize action, the Conference will seek to propel much needed science-based innovative solutions aimed at starting a new chapter of global ocean action. Read more here.

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