The UN Ocean Conference 2022 came to an end with members adopting the Lisbon Declaration. The conference is held to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14).

SDG 14 — Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.


About the conference

Theme of the conference – “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions”.


Key outcomes

  • Lisbon Declaration—
      • The Conference adopted, without a vote, the Lisbon Declaration, entitled, Our ocean, our future, our responsibility.
          • It is a legally non-binding document.
      • The declaration sends strong signal of urgently improving the health, resilience and sustainable use of the ocean.
      • In this document, member countries regretted for their failure in achieving targets set for 2020.
      • They renewed commitment to take urgent action and cooperate at various levels to achieve all targets without undue delay.
  • Enhancing the management, protection and restoration of marine ecosystems and biodiversity in territorial and extraterritorial seas —
      • Since the 1870s, almost half of global coral reefs have been lost; and nearly 87% of the global wetlands have disappeared over the past 300 years.
      • To address this decline, it was decided to protect at least 30% of the ocean by 2030 (30×30 target).
      • While, several states have committed to extend Marine Protected Areas coverage in their territorial sea, the protection of the high seas remains a critical gap to reach the 30×30 target.
      • In this respect, the conference called for the rapid adoption of a new legally binding agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine and biodiversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction – BBNJ Treaty.
        • BBNJ treaty is currently under negotiation at the United Nations.
        • The fifth round of negotiations for implementing international treaty is scheduled to be held in August 2022.
  • Preventing, reducing and controlling marine pollution —
      • It also agreed to work on preventing, reducing and controlling marine pollution. It includes:
          • Nutrient pollution; Untreated wastewater; Solid waste discharges; Hazardous substances; Emissions from the maritime sector, including shipping, shipwrecks; Anthropogenic underwater noise.
  • Creation of sustainable ocean-based economies —
      • Participating members pledged to develop and promote innovative financing solutions to help create sustainable ocean-based economies.
      • They also decided to expand nature-based solutions to help conserve and preserve coastal communities.
  • Empowerment of Women and Girls —
      • Member nations have also committed to empowering women and girls.
      • They recognised that their participation is crucial to building a sustainable ocean-based economy and achieving the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goal 14.
  • Improving fishing practices and aquatic food production compliance with environmental standards —
      • FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 (SOFIA) was released during the conference.
      • It pointed out a decrease to 64.6% of fishery stocks within biologically sustainable levels in 2019.
      • The summit called on the development of sustainable fishing practices and aquatic animal production.
      • Also, there was an announcement from Canada, the United-States and United-Kingdom to launch an international alliance to drive collective action to eradicate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
  • Towards commitments for the deep-sea protection —
      • The conference raised the alarm about the risks of deep seabed exploitation.
      • It encouraged the creation of a “legal framework to stop high seas mining and not to allow new activities that endanger ecosystems”.
  • Accelerating the transition of the blue economy — The transition of ocean-based economies of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) has been particularly emphasised.
  • Encouraging and sharing science and innovation —
      • The UN Ocean Conference put science at the centre of discussions. This is evident from its theme – “Scaling up Ocean Action Based on Science and Innovation for the Implementation of Goal 14”.
      • To improve our understanding of the ocean and its future evolution, several recommendations have been formulated, including:
        • thorough ocean mapping,
        • the development of observation networks,
      • further transfer of knowledge, capacities and technologies notably between developed countries, SIDS and Least Developed Countries.
  • India’s response —
    • At the summit, India committed to a Coastal Clean Seas Campaign and will work towards a ban on single-used plastics (SUPs).
      • SUPs are banned in India since July 1.