The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: A new era for the oceans?

The health of the oceans is vital for the survival of all humanity.

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The United Nations High-level Conference to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14, conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development is now in progress. The need to sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development is now a momentous innovation. The United Nations   Sustainable Development Goal 14, now calls for the holistic supervision of the world’s ocean.

Organized in partnership with the Forum Fisheries Agency, Partnerships for Environmental Management in the Seas of East Asia, International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, Government of Tonga, Marine Research Institute of Colombia, and the International Maritime Organization; the Ocean Conference and its preparatory meeting is open to a broad range of stakeholders including non-governmental organizations, civil society organizations, academic institutions, the scientific community, the private sector, philanthropic organizations and other actors.

Additionally, the governments of Fiji and Sweden projected the convening of this high-level UN conference on ocean and seas, with a proposal co-sponsored by 95 countries and adopted unanimously in a UN General Assembly resolution.

Unlike most other Sustainable Development Goals, which have only one or two targets with delivery years of 2020 and 2025, Sustainable Development Goal 14 has five targets for 2020 or 2025. The targets address major challenges facing the oceans, including pollution, overfishing, fisheries subsidies, coastal habitat loss, and acidification.

But if this   punitive reality is to become truth, then, it is evident that there must   be a total overhauling of individual behaviors. There must be a reorganization of   our system of economic values. There must be a paradigm of social and political structures.

According to marine statistics, the ocean is the largest ecosystems on the planet and covers more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface. The oceans produce 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe and a sixth of all animal protein we consume, and play a crucial role in our global economy. 

The WWF’s report on the Ocean economy estimates that the economic value of the ocean as an asset is $24 trillion, which includes the value of the ocean’s direct outputs such as seafood, the value of the ocean as a shipping way, the value of its coastline and the value of its ability to absorb around 30 percent of our carbon emissions.

Elaborating further, the livelihoods of around 3 billion people around the world depend on marine and coastal resources, generating millions of jobs in industries as diverse as tourism, fishing, shipping, and biotechnology. The ocean can play a significant role in global development and has the potential to lift millions out of poverty.

Nonetheless marine ecosystems continue to be threatened by human activity.

Although one of the goals of this United Nation high level ocean conference is to gather as many voluntary commitments as possible to help spur action towards the realization of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, it must be understood that unless the supervision of all subdivisions of human activities affecting the oceans becomes lucid, the sustainable use of the oceans cannot be realized.   If the U.S. still believes that fossil fuels   is the life blood of   the economy, then, the exclusive prospect for the world to mirror the ocean as a source of eliminating poverty and promoting prosperity   can never be attained.  It would be silly to cloak our minds against the reality of an acidified ocean, oil spills and recycled plastic and ignore the fact that this is a new era where oceans are advancing into very harsh conditions. The preventing of marine pollution, restoring, and strengthening the flexibility of marine and coastal ecosystems, restoring fish stocks to sustainable levels must be a contemplated goal to deliver the United Nation Sustainable Development Goal targets by 2030.

Whereas  it is hoped that this United Nations high-level ocean conference  will provide the policymaker and the researcher a holistic picture of what the ocean stands for, there must also be a new and urgent narrative on the need to reversing ocean acidification. The world’s oceans and seas have been ignored by mainstream policymakers for far too long.  The policy responses to sustainable oceans by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the World Bank, the European Union (EU) and the International Energy Agency IEA must come into serious play to solve the problem of climate change in efforts to legitimize   ocean   sustainability.

In the search for this sustainable ocean reality, states and government must talent   articulate, operative and legal polices, because sustainable oceans governance not only embody   environmental economic and political issues, but is also   enveloped in a stock of national security as well.

It is good for   deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lovin, to call for all stakeholders to make their voluntary commitments to save the oceans.  It is of paramount importance that the international community take aggressive steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.  On the other hand, it must be understood, that ocean acidification cannot be stopped while ‘fossil fuel capitalism’ remains the prevailing system of the world. There must be hostile efforts in the transition  to a low-carbon, energy efficient model that relies primarily on renewable sources of energy if a sustainable ocean reality is to be grasped.

Irrefutably, the health of the oceans is vital for the survival of all humanity.

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