Oceans cover three quarters of the Earth’s surface, host millions of species, and can absorb 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans. Yet, water temperature and acidity levels are rising, and marine and coastal biodiversity is dropping, due to overfishing, unsustainable coastal development, marine pollution, climate change etc. 60% of the world’s coral reefs may disappear over the coming years and, at current rates, the UN expects a 20% increase of coastal eutrophication by 2050.
The 14th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14) aims at cutting marine pollution, restoring and conserving marine and coastal areas and ecosystems, ending unsustainable fishing practices, and improving the management of marine resources, to ensure both economic benefits for all and the protection of seas and oceans.
EU development policy supports actions at global, regional, national and local level, notably
- improved fisheries management and the fight against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing to secure oceans’ contribution to food and nutrition security
- conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems notably through the establishment and support of marine protected areas (MPA)
- waste management and efforts to reduce land-based pollution affecting the oceans (including plastic)
- research and technology transfer