In December 2017, the United Nations declared that 2021-2030 would be the “Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”. The UN’s objective is to mobilise significant stakeholders from all over the world (including governments, companies, academic institutions, civil society actors and philanthropic organizations) around a common agenda that will place science at the heart of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14 ) for the oceans: “Conserving and sustainably using oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, one of the 17 SDGs that the 193 UN member countries set for themselves in 2015.
Oceans and coastal regions are indeed essential to life on our planet. The ocean is the Earth’s largest ecosystem, regulating climate change and crucially influencing the economy, nutrition, health and wellbeing, water supply and energy all over the world. According to the first UN World Oceans Report, “dependence on the ecosystem services provided by the ocean is likely to increase as population increases.”