2 August 2018

#SDGsinAcademia: Goal 14

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals carried out by the United Nations, United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is presenting a weekly series of articles on #SDGSinAcademia that highlights the importance of higher education in achieving the Goals. Featuring additional sources for use by faculty and students alike, this series is intended to inspire action on the SDGs and showcase activities and initiatives of UNAI member institutions.

2 August 2018 - This week we are featuring in our #SDGsinAcademia series Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development


  • 14.1 By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution 
  • 14.2 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 
  • 14.3 Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
  • 14.4 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 
  • 14.5 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 
  • 14.6 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 
  • 14.7 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 
  • 14.A 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 
  • 14.B Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
  • 14.C 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

What are UNAI member institutions doing about Goal 14? Here are some examples:

The University of Manitoba (Canada) will host the Churchill Marine Observatory, intended to be a globally unique, highly innovative and multidisciplinary research facility to be located in Churchill, Manitoba, adjacent to Canada’s only Arctic deep-water port. The Observatory will directly address technological, scientific, and economic issues through the study of the impact of oil spills in sea ice, and the issues facing arctic marine transportation including future consequences of increased marine shipping traffic.

The University of South Florida (United States) through its College of Marine Science is teaming up with the Florida Institute of Oceanography to map the entire coast of the state of Florida, as well as to gather data on fish spawning areas in the state's coastal waters. So far, less than 20% of Florida's coastal waters have been mapped. Researchers are pushing forward a number of projects while working onboard the Weatherbird II research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico. The outcome will help with the management of natural resources.

The Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia) held in June the Oceans' Forum 2018 that brought together several representatives of the Colombian national government and members of academia to create aweareness but also to discuss maritime pressing issues and its potential for sustainable development. This was organized within the framework of the World Oceans Day of this year and had two different panels, one on environmental social development and another one on socio-economic development. 

The Universidad de Alicante (Spain) joined the largest European project of marine protection called LIFE IP INTEMARES with researchers doing their work on board of the Ramón Margalef research vessel that has allowed so far the exploration and mapping of over 2,000 km2 of marine environment up to almost 3 km of depth. With the collected information and data, for the first time a comprehensive view of the area is available, which will improve academic and scientific knowledge about the habitat and species that it hosts.

The University of Southampton (United Kingdom) held a public lecture series themed around the environment and the SDGs. The third lecture focused on oceans and climate. One of the topics discussed was that the delicate balance of heat exchange between the ocean and atmosphere has been broken, and the oceans are inexorably warming as a consequence of carbon dioxide emissions. At the event, the challenges and innovative approaches used to understand and predict global ocean changes were explored and debated.

The University of Bergen (Norway) launched a new sustainable ocean research centre in order to strengthen research on a sustainable ocean and to give scientific advice to authorities and international bodies. Marine research and education is one of three focus areas at the institution and there is also a marine advisory board encompassing all faculties. This underlines the scope of the university’s marine academic community and by establishing this centre, the institution asserts its commitment to integrating the SDGs in the university's strategies.

The University of Namibia (Namibia) hosts the Sam Nujoma Marine and Coastal Resources Research Centre which is a full-fledged multidisciplinary research centre located at the coast of Namibia to promote research and development activities in the field of Marine Science and Coastal Resources. Research activities at the Centre are geared towards developing the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, desert and coastal agriculture. The ultimate goal is to develop unique bio-resources for human sustainable development.

Pukyong National University (Republic of Korea) hosts the Oceanic Science Institute, established as the ocean science research institute for higher education institutions in the Republic of Korea. The institute has greatly contributed to advance Korean marine science and technology by perform joint studies with industry partners. Its goal is to achieve academic research and to educate training for marine science technical professionals, fostering collaborations with domestic and international research institutes as well as other universities.

Southern Cross University (Australia) Professor Bradley Eyre from the University’s Centre for Coastal Biogeochemistry and other colleagues have found that the sands which provide material for the building and maintenance of coral reefs will begin to dissolve due to ocean acidity. Their paper shows that the rate at which coral reef sediments dissolve is ten times more sensitive to ocean acidification than the rate at which corals grow. Professor Eyre said the oceans have absorbed around 1/3 of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere.

Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand) offers a Postgraduate Certificate and a Master of Marine Conservation through its School of Biological Sciences, with a heavy focus on marine biology research. The programmes examine marine conservation issues and practice using examples from New Zealand, Australia, the South Pacific and the wider Indo-Pacific region, which can be applied worldwide. With the increasing pressures on the marine environment, experts in the conservation and management of marine organisms and ecosystems are in demand.

Here you can take a look to a selection of the Activity Reports submitted by UNAI member institutions.


The following resources can help improving your knowledge and understanding about Goal 14 in particular and also about the SDGs in general:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide made by the United Nations Library in Geneva listing resources about the SDGs in general and about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, by geographical regions they relate to and by authors, to facilitate easy searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers a selection of tools such as concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This is a guide entitled Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • This guide entitled Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities was also developed by the SDSN to help universities, higher education institutions and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs highlighting the important role universities have in implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.
  • This guide entitled Sustainable Development Goals - Human Response Alignments features the human element of change and the human response corresponding to each of the SDGs in order to quicken the global conversation about vital issues and to encourage the movement that supports the vision of the SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Life Below Water

Sustainable Development Goals Explained: Life Below Water
United Nations - What are the major threats to oceans today? Andrew Hudson, Head of Water and Ocean Governance at the UN Development Programme explains the state of life below water, and why protecting oceans and achieving economic growth can go hand in hand.