The world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. How we manage this vital resource is essential for humanity as a whole, and to counter balance the effects of climate change.
Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. However, today we are seeing 30 percent of the world’s fish stocks overexploited, reaching below the level at which they can produce sustainable yields.
Oceans also absorb about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, and we are seeing a 26 percent rise in ocean acidification since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Marine pollution, an overwhelming majority of which comes from land-based sources, is reaching alarming levels, with an average of 13,000 pieces of plastic litter to be found on every square kilometre of ocean.
The SDGs aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. Enhancing conservation and the sustainable use of ocean-based resources through international law will also help mitigate some of the challenges facing our oceans.
GOALS IN ACTION
India is the second-largest producer of fish in the world and is putting a demand on fish supplies that is 2-3 times greater than the oceans can support over time. At this rate, fish catch in tropical areas is expected to decline 40 percent by 2050. MORE >
When was the last time you connected with the natural world? Perhaps you live in the city and it may have been a while since you last walked through a forest or swam in a lake. It is all too easy in an increasingly urban world to live without actually touching or feeling the natural world. And if we don’t, and we become increasingly detached from nature, there is a danger we start to care less. A slow disconnect is almost imperceptible, and all the more dangerous for that.MORE >
In 2011, China initiated the first stage of an initiative to phase out HCFCs, a chemical commonly used in the solvent industry that is highly destructive to the ozone layer. Since then, with continued guidance from UNDP, the medical devices, electronics and metals sectors have made great reductions in their use of HCFCs. These changes have contributed significantly to efforts to protect the environment and fight climate change, laid out under the Montreal Protocol. The initiative now moves into its second phase. MORE >
An effort by the UN-REDD Viet Nam Phase II Programme to protect medicinal plants and natural forests in My Phuong commune, Bac Kan province. MORE >