Oceans & Seas
Importance of oceans

At Rio+20, Member States stressed the importance of “the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans and seas and of their resources for sustainable development, including through their contributions to poverty eradication, sustained economic growth, food security and creation of sustainable livelihoods and decent work, while at the same time protecting biodiversity and the marine environment and addressing the impacts of climate change”.

Oceans, seas and coastal areas form an integrated and essential component of the Earth’s ecosystem and are critical to sustainable development. They cover more than two-thirds of the earth’s surface and contain 97% of the planet’s water. Oceans contribute to poverty eradication by creating sustainable livelihoods and decent work. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal resources for their livelihoods. In addition, oceans are crucial for global food security and human health. They are also the primary regulator of the global climate, an important sink for greenhouse gases and they provide us with water and the oxygen we breathe. Finally, oceans host huge reservoirs of biodiversity.

Yet, there are increasing, complex challenges in preserving and maintaining healthy, resilient and productive oceans for the prosperity of present and future generations. Ensuring healthy and productive oceans is therefore crucial for achieving sustainable development.

Upcoming meetings and events:

  • Fifth Meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group of the Whole on the Regular Process for Global Reporting and Assessment of the State of the Marine Environment, including Socio-economic Aspects (United Nations Headquarters, New York, 31 March 2014)
  • Seventh meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Informal Working Group to study issues relating to the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity beyond areas of national jurisdiction (United Nations Headquarters, New York, 01-04 April 2014)
  • Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth organized by the Government of The Netherlands, in close collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank and the Governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway, the United States of America (The Hague, The Netherlands from 22-25 April 2014)
  • 2nd International Ocean Research Conference: One Planet One Ocean organized by Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO and the Oceanography Society (Barcelona, Spain, 17-21 November 2014)
  • Copyright United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Division for Sustainable Development | Contact | Terms of use | Site map