Oceans are the point at which planet, people, and prosperity come together. And that is what sustainable development is about. It is about all of us as shareholders of Earth, incorporated, acknowledging and acting on our responsibility to the planet, to the people, and to its bloodstream, the oceans.
Elizabeth Thompson, Co-Executive Coordinator for the Rio+20 Conference, at Oceans Day at Rio+20,16 June 2012
As the General Assembly of the United Nations considers the recommendations of the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is essential that SDG 14 on oceans, seas and marine resources retains a central place in the post-2015 development agenda.
THE CENTRALITY OF OCEANS FOR ALL THREE PILLARS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The oceans are the most prominent feature on the planet, covering nearly three quarters of the Earth, and are essential for planetary survival. lust as a person cannot live without a healthy heart and lungs, the Earth cannot survive without healthy oceans and seas. They serve as the Earth's respiratory system, producing oxygen for life and absorbing carbon dioxide and waste. The oceans provide storage and absorb 30 per cent of the world's carbon dioxide, while marine phytoplankton generates 50 per cent of the oxygen needed for survival. The oceans regulate the climate and temperature, making the planet hospitable to diverse forms of life.
The oceans and seas are essential for national and global economic well-being. The global ocean economic activity is estimated to be between US $3 trillion to US $6 trillion, contributing to the world economy in many important ways, such as:
* 90 per cent of global trade moves by marine transport.
* Submarine cables carry 95 per cent of all global telecommunications.
* Fisheries and aquaculture supply 4.3 billion people with more than 15 per cent of annual consumption of animal protein.
* Over 30 per cent of global oil and gas produced is extracted offshore.
* Coastal tourism is the largest market segment in the world economy, comprising 5 per cent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 6 to 7 per cent of global employment.
* Expanding knowledge on marine biodiversity has provided breakthrough advances in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food production, and aquaculture.
* 13 of the world's 20 megacities are coastal.
* Tides, waves, currents, and offshore wind are emerging sources of energy that have significant potential to contribute to low-carbon...