Asia-Pacific is home to the most biologically diverse and productive marine ecosystems on Earth. From fisheries to marine-based tourism, our ocean is a vital source of livelihood, employment, nutrition and economic growth and is essential in balancing our climate. Marine and coastal ecosystems are the first line of defense from saltwater inundation and storms. Yet, rampant marine pollution, ocean acidification and warming, destructive fishing practices, unsustainable trade and transport, and inadequate coastal and marine governance threaten the health of our ocean and its capacity to nurture sustainable development. Countries in Asia-Pacific are both major sources of ocean degradation and highly vulnerable to its impacts.
At the global level, Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Life below water – offers a framework on how countries can conserve and sustainably use the ocean, seas and marine resources for development. The United Nations Ocean Conference recently committed to halting and reversing the decline in the health and productivity of the ocean and its ecosystems and to protect and restore its resilience and ecological integrity. It also recognized that the well-being of present and future generations is inextricably linked to the health and productivity of the oceans; and stressed the importance of enhancing understanding of the health and role of the oceans, including through assessments on the state of the ocean, based on science and on traditional knowledge systems.
ESCAP member States ratified their commitment to the protection of the ocean, through Resolution 76/1 on “Strengthening cooperation to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific”.
Knowledge products and learning tools
Accelerating SDG 14
Accelerating the implementation of SDG 14
Inadequate marine governance is threatening ocean and coastal ecosystems in the Asia-Pacific region. Countries with the greatest needs have little capacity to apply existing knowledge on the ocean into their policy decisions. Therefore, ESCAP has developed a methodology to help prioritize needs, identify entry points and existing frameworks that can be leveraged to accelerate implementation of SDG 14 and its targets, and support follow-up and review processes: “SDG 14 in Asia and the Pacific: An accelerator Approach for Implementation.
Intergovernmental processes and regional dialogues
Member States reinforced ESCAP’s mandate on the ocean-related work, strengthening current partnerships and developing new partnerships for the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources, including through participatory, multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms. In line with this mandate, ESCAP hosts the annual Asia-Pacific Day for the Ocean to promote the engagement of all stakeholders, including civil society, the youth, academia, the private sector and the scientific community. Visit the event’s website for more information: