Priorities for progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘Life below water’

This year marks the mid-point for the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Development Goal 14 (‘Life below water’). We asked a range of researchers working across marine science, conservation, policy and implementation to reflect on priorities for action on ocean health and biodiversity over the next seven years.

In September this year, heads of state and governments gather in New York, USA for the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) summit — convened by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly — to discuss pathways for accelerating progress towards meeting the 17 SDGs. The overarching goal of SDG14 (‘Life below water’) is to “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, yet ongoing stressors from climate change, pollution, overfishing and ocean acidification (among multiple other threats, such as deep-sea mining) continue to threaten marine biodiversity and the sustainability and good health of ocean ecosystems. In this Viewpoint, eight researchers and practitioners (Box 1) across seven countries discuss how these ongoing threats undermine achieving the targets outlined in SDG14 by 2030, as well as their interdependencies with other SDGs, and outline solutions for moving towards more sustainable oceans.

Lubchenco J., Camp E. F., Vargas C. A., Belhabib D., Anna Z., Amon D. J., Metaxas A. & Harden-Davies H., 2023. Priorities for progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 14 ‘Life below water’. Nature Ecology and Evolution 7: 1564–1569. Article.

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