International Partnerships

Life Below Water

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.

Oceans cover 3 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.

Globally, over 3 billion people depend on marine and coastal resources, marine fisheries employ over 200 million people, and marine industries generate about 5% of the global GDP. Oceans significantly contribute to food and nutrition security. Therefore, as part of our development cooperation, we support specific projects promoting the sustainable management of marine and coastal resources in partner countries, with a special focus on coastal and island partner countries and small-scale fisheries, which are the most affected by the degradation of oceans.

We are committed to achieve SDG14 because preserving and protecting oceans and seas is essential to humankind. In 2016, the adoption of the Joint Communication on International Ocean Governance set EU’s ambitions on SDG 14.

Our action

Through actions at global, regional, national and local level, the EU development policy supports 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