Understanding the SDGs: the importance of Goal 14

Conserving our oceans and marine resources is critical to an integrated approach to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, argues Essam Yassin Mohammed.

News, 07 September 2015

Sustainable Development Goal 14 is a historic achievement, according to IIED's Essam Yassin Mohammed, as it acknowledges the importance of ecosystems to the livelihoods of millions of people around the world.

The goal commits governments to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, giving this important source of food and biodiversity the recognition it deserves.

Integrated approach

But Mohammed argues that Goal 14 cannot be seen in isolation from the other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Achieving Goal 14 will contribute to meeting Goal 2 on ending hunger, Goal 12 on sustainable consumption and production and Goal 15 on biodiversity.

It also cannot be achieved in isolation and will be supported by action to achieve the other goals, such as action to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, for example. We need to deliver on the other goals as well, he says.

Finance for fish

Achieving a transition to more sustainable use of our oceans and marine resources will have costs, he acknowledges, and it is important that governments and agencies work together to mobilise finance – including through fiscal reform, through official development assistance and through market forces.

It is critical that this money is used in ways that ensure that the most vulnerable communities can benefit and liberate themselves from the trap of deep poverty.

Leave no one behind

Mohammed, senior researcher in IIED's Sustainable Markets Group, says the SDGs can make a difference but will only do so if we follow the Open Working Group's call and ensure that no one is left behind. This means asking who are the winners and who are the losers – and making sure that the most excluded do not lose out.

Watch the 'Understanding the SDGs' series of videos with IIED's experts on YouTube, or read the individual interviews below: