Global and European Support for Standalone Oceans Goal, and Civil Society/National Proposals to Amend the Oceans Goal in the June 2, 2014 Zero Draft

Magdalena A K Muir

On June 2, 2014, the Chairs of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goas (OWG SDG) issued a zero draft of proposed goals and targets, including goal 14 for oceans.  A number of countries came out in support of a standalone oceans goal during the June 18th informal evening meeting of the 12th Session of the OWG SDG discussing oceans goal 14 in the zero draft. At the June 18th meeting, the European Union and the following European countries spoke in support of a standalone oceans goal:  Belgium, Croatia, Cypress, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

On the morning of June 19, 2014, the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) along with  Beyond 2015, DIVA, The Global Ocean Commission, the High Seas Alliance (representing 29 NGOs and the IUCN), PEW Charitable Trusts, the Women’s Major Group, and WWF submitted a joint statement which suggested revisions to the oceans goal. This joint statement is significant as it represents cooperation on oceans goal by environmental, small fishers and women’s group. An annotated version of the goals is here. Immediately below is the clean text of the proposal submitted, which includes a change to the title of the oceans goal, and greater clarity on environmental and social aspects of the targets.

Proposed Goal 14: Attain conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas 

[Reframe to “Conserve and sustainably use marine resources, oceans and seas”]

14.1  by 2020, reduce by 50%, prevent and control marine pollution of all kinds, including from land-based activities

14.2   by 2020 sustainably and equitably manage, restore and protect coastal and marine ecosystems from adverse impacts, especially areas of particular importance for fish stocks, biodiversity and ecosystem services, including by strengthening their resilience to human impacts including climate change and supporting relevant interdisciplinary scientific research

14.3   by 2020, ensure ecosystem resilience in the face of ocean acidification and address and prevent further ocean acidification

14.4   immediately restore and maintain fish stocks to levels above those that can produce maximum sustainable yield, manage fish stocks using the ecosystem approach, and, by 2020, end overfishing.

14.5  support sustainable small-scale fisheries and aquaculture, including by providing equitable access of small-scale and artisanal fishers to fisheries and markets and creating an enabling environment for community-based fisheries management and substantive inclusion of women into national, regional and global fisheries decision-making bodies.

14.6  by 2020 ensure the full implementation of existing regional and international regimes for managing oceans and seas by their states parties.

14.7  take immediate action to eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices and eliminate IUU fishing by 2020

14.8  by 2020, conserve at least 20% of coastal and marine areas, through effectively managed and ecologically representative marine protected areas and other effective area-based measures  within and beyond areas of  national jurisdiction, consistent with international law and based on best available scientific information.

14.9  by 2020, eliminate subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, taking into account the need of developing countries, notably least developed countries and SIDS

14.10  by 2020, increase the economic returns to SIDS and LDCs from the sustainable development of coastal and marine resources within their jurisdictions, as well as equitable access to and benefit sharing from resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction.

14.11  implement integrated and participatory coastal management plans [under a gender equality and human rights framework, in order]*  to increase resilience of coastal ecosystems .

* Italic text requested by Beyond 2015/DIVA/Women’s Major Group 
On the evening of Thursday June 19th, 2014, the Global Ocean Forum held an informal meeting  of the Friends of the Sustainable Development Goal on Oceans and Seas which the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC) participated. The intent of the meeting was to take stock of deliberations for the oceans goal, and to consider additional steps. There was significant participation by OWG member states such as Australia,  Canada, France. Monaco, Netherlands,  Singapore, Spain and Sri Lanka.  At that meeting, the Global Ocean Forum indicated that  during the brief discussion of the proposed SDG oceans goals  in the informal evening session of the OWG 12 on 18th June, 10 countries who previously were not reported in the  June 8th, 2014 Global Ocean Forum Summary of Member Statements   indicated their support for a stand-alone oceans goal. Therefore, as of the evening of June 19, 2014, the Global Oceans Forum indicated they have tabulated the following summary of countries in support of an SDG on oceans:


Countries in favor of an SDG on Oceans and Seas: 79

OWG member states: 37 (53%)

Non-OWG member states: 10

Southern African States, and PSIDS, CARICOM, and AOSIS groupings: 32

Countries that show support for oceans: 18

OWG member states: 12 (17%)

Non-OWG member states: 6
On Friday June 18th, the Principality of Monaco, with the advice and support of the Global Ocean Forum, made a proposal to revise the oceans goal. The Monaco proposal provided to the Chairs of the OWG SDG  is provided here. Monaco has had a longstanding engagement in the UN on blue economy and sustainable ocean use including engagement of prior SDG side events for an  oceans goal.


Further information:

Goal 14: Ocean: WWF, Beyond 2015, Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC), DIVA, the Global Ocean Commission, the High Seas Alliance (representing 29 NGOs and the IUCN), the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Women’s Major Group

Video feed  from 16.25 to 23.20  minutes on the civil society statement on oceans and response of Chair at the video recording of the 4th Discussion with Major Groups and other Stakeholders – OWG 12 – June 19, 2014 at


Next Steps in the OWG SDG Process

Videofeed from 2nd meeting, OWG12 – June 23, 2014

Consideration of the zero draft , Discussion on the way forward ,Concluding remarks by the Co-Chairs and Closure of the twelfth session