Policy Brief.2020

Starting at the source to save the sea: Look upstream to achieve SDG14

Ruth Mathews
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Ruth Mathews
Senior Manager,
Water Cooperation and Diplomacy

This brief illustrates the importance of upstream and in-land management and governance on the impacts of ocean health. It finds that SDG 14, Life Below Water, will not be realized without coordinated action across sectors, borders, and landscapes.

beach by lush, green mountains
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Ocean health is critically dependent on society’s ability to minimize the negative effects of human activities. This must be achieved while mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change, as well as making efforts to meet the needs of a growing and more prosperous population. 

According to the brief, the only way to do this is by harmonizing social, economic, and environmental priorities within the system. This calls for new approaches and strengthened partnerships. Actors and sectors located upstream of coastal and marine areas must be engaged. The brief details what it will take to achieve this, and concludes: “Our shared future depends on all levels of government and decision-makers pulling together to drive meaningful change and uniting policy and action for coordinated management in order to restore and maintain the health of the ocean.” 

Learn more about source-to-sea

Source-to-sea refers to the connections between what we do on land and along rivers, and the impact this has further downstream, along coasts and in the ocean.

Know more
Meandering rivers through a mangrove forest, making their way out to sea.
Meandering rivers through a mangrove forest, making their way out to sea. Image by Coral Brunner.