Contributions of Regional Seas Conventions and Action Plans to a Healthy Ocean

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In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States, set out 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals. The present report focuses on Goal 14: Life below water, which seeks to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” (United Nations, 2015, p.14). Goal 14 is one of only two Goals that are entirely ecosystem-focused (the other being Goal 15: Life on land). The achievement of Goal 14 requires an integrated, ecosystem-based management approach that includes and promotes equality across all marine actors to successfully balance social, cultural and economic needs with environmental needs.

This report highlights the significant role of regional seas conventions and action plans in supporting contracting parties to deliver directly on Goal 14 (and indirectly on Goals 1, 2, 5, 12, 13 and 17). Case studies are presented in further detail in a supplement to show how, through cooperation and collaboration, regional seas have helped advance progress towards a healthy marine and coastal environment for people and the planet.

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