World Oceans Day Marks Milestone in Progress for the 2020 United Nations Oceans Targets

World Oceans Day Marks Milestone in Progress for the 2020 United Nations Oceans Targets

June 8, 2018, Abu Dhabi - The ocean, once believed “too big to fail,” is in trouble. Across the world, humans have effected dramatic change upon the seas which cover more than 70% of the planet’s surface. One thing is certain: our current course is unsustainable. Yet the ocean remains a vital resource with the potential to generate enormous economic growth. Balancing human activity with the long-term health of the ocean is essential.

The countdown to 2020 is on, with many of the ambitious targets for the ocean set out by the United Nations under Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14) maturing the year after next. 2020 targets include to “effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices” and “conserve at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas”.

By 2025, the goal is to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds. Eight million metric tons of plastic go into the sea every year, the equivalent of one garbage truck per minute, and the problem is likely to double in the next 10 years without drastic intervention. At current rates, by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea. The issue is solvable but will require coordination across all sectors and at all levels of government, society, businesses, industry.

On the occasion of World Oceans Day, Friday 8th June, the countdown to the 6th World Ocean Summit begins. The multi-day event to be hosted by the Government of Abu Dhabi seeks to focus the sometimes divergent perspectives of business, government and civil society on how we use our troubled seas. The summit takes stock of SDG14 (United Nations Sustainable Development Goal) which pledges to  “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources,for sustainable development”.

In 2018 the World Ocean Summit has expanded into a wider, more ambitious World Ocean Initiative. Its vision will be of an ocean in robust health and with a vital economy; its goal to accelerate the transition to sustainable use of the ocean.

Every step on the way to 2020, including World Ocean Day and the World Ocean Summit, will help keep up the momentum and drive the commitments to make sure these goals are achieved.


For more information on the World Ocean Initiative and World Ocean Summit or to register to attend in Abu Dhabi in 2019, visit

Videos featuring high level speakers from World Ocean Summit in 2018 in Mexico available to download or embed via YouTube


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