25 Feb 2020 - In 2015, 193 countries agreed on 17 global objectives for ending poverty and protecting the environment by 2030. These Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) included SDG 14, to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."
A new study by two former diplomats with the CONOW Competence Centre for International Relations published in the journal Marine Policy estimates that to hit the targets needed to achieve this SDG the world must spend $175 billion per year.
Reducing marine pollution will take more than half the money needed, according to the paper. At over $90 billion, that cost includes programs to clean up ocean trash, better manage waste and improve wastewater treatment plants. It also means investing in research on biodegradable plastics, all while working to limit plastic pollution of any kind in the first place.
About one-fifth of the needed funding, the researchers say, is for protecting and restoring wetland ecosystems, coastal habitats, coral reefs and other environments. For wetlands, that could entail setting aside new areas under the Ramsar Convention, an international treaty (PDF) that aims to conserve wetland wildlife and ecosystem services.
For seaside ecosystems, it could mean investments in integrated coastal management. This approach brings together scientists, managers, community members and other stakeholders to cooperate on unified oversight and administration of activities in coastal areas, aiming to balance competing interests for sustainable development — all while prioritizing the preservation of biological resources and ecosystems.
Other priorities, the study says, are promoting sustainable fishing, directing resources to low-income island countries, supporting efforts to manage fisheries and fight pollution, and dealing with climate change, which acidifies oceans.
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