Conference.08 Jun 2024, 9:30 CET

Starting at the Source to Save the Ocean: Coordinated Action to Achieve SDG 14

Source-to-sea management is a holistic approach that recognizes the environmental, economic, and social linkages between land, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. It builds bridges across the divide between land, freshwater, coasts, and the ocean by bringing together upstream and downstream stakeholders across sectors to collaborate on managing healthy ecosystems and building resilient societies.

Aerial view of a river delta meeting the ocean
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The health of the ocean and its benefits to society are at risk, largely due to activities taking place far from its shores. Fragmented governance and working in silos impede efforts to address the heavy burden land-based and upstream activities are putting on the ocean. This leads to the devastating impacts that land-based sources of pollution have on the ocean’s ecosystems and the valuable services they provide such as climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security and a thriving blue economy.

Those responsible for the health of the ocean are often not the decision makers of activities that threaten its well-being. While being recipients of a vast array of ocean services, land-based stakeholders often do not account for the potential downstream implications of their activities, nor do they recognize their reliance on the ocean, so they are not incentivized to invest or participate in measures that reduce pressure on marine ecosystems.

In this session, high-level experts will share their lessons learned in breaking down the silos that separate terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and ocean actors and in taking coordinated action that benefits the entire source-to-sea system. Barriers to cross-sectoral policymaking and finance will be discussed as well as challenges to science-based understanding of source-to-sea linkages that can support these. Additionally, the diverse group of experts will address how source-to-sea can accelerate achieving SDG14 by taking advantage of its connections with other SDGs. The aim to mainstream source-to-sea system thinking in governance and management frameworks to restore and protect the ocean.

Source-to-SeaWater governance
08 Jun 2024, 9:30 CET
San José (Costa Rica)
English, Spanish


Session chair | Matt Frost, Head of the International Office, Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Welcoming remarks | Susan Gardner, Director of Ecosystems Division, UNEP

Roundtable discussion | Moderator: José Pablo Murillo, Programme Manager, Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI)


  • Lucia De Strasser, Environmental Affairs Officer, UNECE
  • Alison Clausen, Deputy Coordinator, UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, IOC-UNESCO
  • Guillaume Côté, Director, Domestic Oceans Policy, Canada
  • Jasmine Fournier, Executive Director, Ocean Sewage Alliance

Audience Q&A

Closing remarks |  Next steps to restore ocean health, Alejandro Solano Ortiz, Viceminister of Multilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Relations and Worship.

This session is part of the "Immersed in change" event

Immersed in Change symbolizes the need to immerse into the ocean and take action to address its challenges. It represents the depth of the ocean and the importance of acting to preserve it. The conference aims to inspire individual and collective action to conserve the ocean.

Go to the event website
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A session organized by:

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Plymouth Marine Laboratory
Source2Sea Platform
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Action Platform for Source-to-Sea Management
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UNDP-SIWI Water Governance Facility
Immersed in Change logo
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Immersed in Change