The Ocean and Us

The Ocean and Us

Written by Maria Potouroglou, GRID-Arendal

The sea! The sea! The open sea! The blue, the fresh, the ever free!

From “The Sea” written by Barry Cornwall

“The Ocean and Us” was published in late 2016, with Blue Solutions implementing partner GRID-Arendal serving as chief editor. This publication brings together partners who share their knowledge and expertise on how healthy marine and coastal ecosystems support the achievement of the UN SDGs.

© AGEDI/Rob Barnes

The ocean is vast, covering 360 million square kilometres, or 71 per cent of the earth’s surface. The ocean has been a cornerstone of human development throughout the history of civilization. People continue to come to the coasts to build some of the largest cities on the planet, with thriving economies, culture and communities. Ocean and coastal ecosystems provide us with resources and opportunities that greatly benefit human well-being. These benefits, however, are often taken for granted, as we fail to recognize their underlying value. Focusing on the narrow perspective of solely economic and social development, we fail to protect the health of our ocean that we are closely related to and depend upon.

Healthy oceans support numerous sustainable development goals

In September 2015, countries adopted a set of goals to protect the planet, end poverty and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new Sustainable Development Agenda, comprised of 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the goals to be achieved by 2030, everyone needs to do their part: governments, the private sector, civil society and people like you. Universal and inclusive, the Agenda calls for action by all countries to improve the lives of people everywhere. While the importance of healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems is recognized through a dedicated goal (SDG 14), the role it plays in sustainable development goes far beyond this goal.

The Sustainable Development Agenda provides the world with a unique opportunity to transform how we think about the “Ocean and Us” and make development sustainable and environmentally sensitive by integrating nature conservation into all development efforts.

This publication was made possible by the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI) Oceans and Blue Carbon Community Special Initiative of the Eye on Earth Movement, UNEP-WCMC, The Nature Conservancy’s Mapping Ocean Wealth and the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership (MESP).