The Ocean and Us

This myriad of ecosystems services, the benefits people obtain from ecosystems (MEA, 2005), provided by the ocean and their role in sustainable development is the focus of this publication. By examining which of the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically beyond Goal 14, are supported by healthy marine and coastal ecosystems, this report will help bridge the communities of conservation and development and raise the awareness among the public, political decision-makers, the private sector and donor community of the essential nature of conserving and restoring marine and coastal ecosystems. While ‘ecosystems services’ might be considered a new term, the concepts underpinning it, of the earth and ocean as a life- giver, is much older and deeply enshrined in our religions, ancient myths and traditional management approaches. This report, therefore, includes a chapter focusing on the many different ways the ocean, and its importance in all aspects of life, has been integrated into the cultural mindset for millennia. While not often found in scientific reports, we felt it was also important to document how society intuitively understands the importance of the ocean. This report explores the data needs for achieving the SDGs, examines ways of linking information about marine and coastal ecosystem services to decision- making and recommends policy actions that support the integration of ecosystem services into development planning and ocean policies. A number of individuals and organizations from both the conservation and development communities have been invited to provide their views on the role of healthy marine and coastal ecosystems for sustainable development. Their contributions can be found throughout the publication. By highlighting the interconnectedness of the ocean throughout many the SGDs, this report seeks to create a greater recognition of the importance of the oceans for sustainable development, and the very existence and well-being of mankind.

Garth Cripps, Blue Ventures, 2015

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