[ SDG Target 14.2 ] 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.
Marine and coastal ecosystems provide many services to human society, including food and other goods, shoreline protection, water quality maintenance, waste treatment, support of tourism and other cultural benefits, and maintenance of the basic global life support systems.
The provision of these services is threatened by the worldwide degradation of marine and coastal ecosystems. Fisheries are in global decline. Coastal habitats have been modified and lost, and in many cases the rate of degradation is increasing. Habitat loss and modification result in a loss of ecosystem services and also threaten biodiversity (UNEP, 2006, p. 7).
Coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, tidal marshes and seagrasses play a significant role as carbon sinks in the fight against climate change. They sequester and store large quantities of carbon in both the plants and the sediment below. Conservation and restoration of coastal ecosystems has the potential to help mitigate climate change while supporting many countries’ adaptation efforts and contributing to their sustainable development goals.
The quest to compile the definitive map of Earth's ocean floor has edged a little nearer to completion. Modern measurements of the depth and shape of the seabed now encompass 20.6% of the total area under water.