About The TerraMar Project

We stand by those who promote awareness, transparency
and responsibility for the high seas

The ocean covers nearly three quarters of our planet and more than three billion people worldwide depend on the seas for their livelihood. Yet the Millennium Development Goals, which were launched in 2000 and helped to reduce global poverty by half, failed to protect the seas.

Over a decade later when The TerraMar Project was founded in 2012, the ocean was far from top-of-mind at the United Nations. In fact, there were more opponents than proponents in the international community to seeing the seas included in the Sustainable Development Goals, the follow-on to the Millennium Development Goals. In order for the ocean to realize its place in the United Nations' sustainable development agenda, we knew we had our work cut out for us.

With a primary organizational objective to realize an ocean-specific Sustainable Development Goal, The TerraMar Project partnered with The Sustainable Oceans Alliance, an organization formed to mobilize the international community to the importance of the ocean and the seas in the lives of people around the world to ensure that Member States of the United Nations recognized and incorporated the ocean in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Working closely with our partners, we built a global coalition of NGO's, experts, and citizens calling for the sustainable management of our ocean. As the number of ocean passport holders grew, so did the global sentiment for the seas.

Behind the leadership of the Small Islands Developing States, and especially that of Palau, the ocean quietly experienced a sea change among the global community. A tidal wave of momentum was built, culminating in the ocean's inclusion as Goal 14 in the Sustainable Development Goals, cementing the seas in the United Nations' post-2015 agenda.

Sustainable Development Goals vs. Millennium Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals were the first global policy initiative to set out measurable targets and indicators by which the international community could track the success of its commitments. The result was a massive achievement: the reduction of extreme poverty by half worldwide. The Millennium Development Goals, however, failed to make progress on the environment, and ignored ocean issues entirely.

The Sustainable Development Goals replaced the Millennium Development Goals upon their expiration in 2015, with 17 new goals and 169 new targets. The result is a series of quantifiable targets and indicators by which actions towards global sustainability will be implemented and measured. Goal 14: Life Below Water, will direct international attention and resources towards saving the world's fish stocks, preserving the marine environment, and helping people in island and coastal states to secure food and jobs for generations.

Goal 14: life below water
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources

As the United Nations points out, the world’s oceans – their temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind.

Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation.

Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

Targets for Goal 14 include:

  • By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
  • By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
  • Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
  • By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics
  • By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
  • By 2020, prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and refrain from introducing new such subsidies, recognizing that appropriate and effective special and differential treatment for developing and least developed countries should be an integral part of the World Trade Organization fisheries subsidies negotiation
  • By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
  • Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
  • Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
  • Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want

The Future of the Ocean is in your hands:

future of the oceans