Analysis and Cases of 169 Targets under Sustainable Development Goals (121)


The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development covers 17 goals, the 14th of which is “Life Below Water”namely: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Under this major goal, there are 10 targets, the 14.5 of which is “By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information.”

● Current Situation

The World

New trends in the construction of global marine protected areas


Marine protected areas are effective methods for protecting marine biodiversity, preventing over-exploitation of marine resources and habitat degradation, and are important tools for achieving sustainable marine development. In order to implement the 2002 Johannesburg plan of implementation on sustainable development and fulfill the commitments set in the Global Biodiversity Framework (2011-2020) and the 2030  Agenda for Sustainable Development to “protect 10% of coastal and marine areas by 2020”, countries are increasingly paying attention to the protection of marine biodiversity and the construction of marine protected areas.

In recent years, marine protected areas have shown a trend of accelerated establishment, oversized individual sizes, and stricter management measures. Since 1960, the global area of marine protected areas has grown at a rate of 8%. After the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity in 1993, the area of marine protected areas increased by more than 15 times. In 2000, the global area of marine protected areas was approximately 2 million square kilometers, accounting for less than 1% of the ocean area. Over the past 20 years, the global marine protected area has grown by 70% annually. Since 2016, the coverage rate of marine protected areas has grown rapidly, with an additional area of approximately 11 million square kilometers. The coverage rate in the sea areas under national jurisdiction has increased from 10.2% to 18.4%.

Nowadays, countries tend to adopt measures of complete or partial prohibition of fishing in marine protected areas when managing them. 20% of global marine protected areas adopt management measures such as prohibiting or regulating navigation, fishing, and mining. The management measures for newly built super large marine protected areas are stricter, and management measures are widely adopted for complete protection or high intensity protection.



Reform of the marine management system

Since the report to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China fully proposed the strategic goals of China’s maritime power, the governance system of China’s maritime power strategy has been improved to date. Its content includes “four aspects” and “four transformations”; The basic path is to develop and strengthen the marine economy internally through land and sea coordination, and promote the “the Belt and Road”, especially the 21st century Maritime Silk Road externally; Using the new concepts of development, security, openness, governance, as well as China’s diplomatic thinking in the new era, including the concepts of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit, and the correct concept of righteousness and benefit, , China aims to build a new type of international relations, achieve a community with a shared future for mankind in the ocean from the perspective of a community with a shared future for mankind, share the space and resource benefits of the ocean, and make contributions to improving human well-being.


In 2021, the overall state of China’s marine ecological environment is stable and improving. On the one hand, the overall quality of seawater continues to improve, with the area of sea areas that meet the first class seawater quality standards accounting for 97.7% of the jurisdictional sea areas, an increase of 0.9 percentage points year-on-year, and the proportion of areas with good and excellent water quality (Class I and Class II) in the near shore waters was 81.3%, an increase of 3.9 percentage points year-on-year. On the other hand, the overall health status of marine ecosystems has improved, and typical marine ecosystems such as bays, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, and seagrass beds that have been monitored have basically got rid of the state of “unhealthy”. This is a manifestation of China’s continuous promotion of marine ecological environment protection work over the past decade.

In the future, China’s role transformation and positioning in maritime rules and regulations mainly include the following aspects: Firstly, the transformation from a follower of maritime rules to a formulator; Secondly, the transformation from a “destroyer” of maritime rules to a follower; Thirdly, the transition from a maintainer of maritime rules to a guide; Fourthly, the transformation from being vague in maritime rules to the being precise; Fifthly, the transition from an enforcer of maritime rules to a supervisor; Sixthly, the transition from being characteristic in maritime rules to being ordinary; Seventhly, the transition from a recipient of maritime rules to a supplier.



The World

The Great Barrier Reef: Systematically protecting connectivity without connectivity data


Australia’s Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, and one of the country’s most important ecological and economic assets. Most of the GBR is enclosed within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), a multiple- use marine park comprising eight different usage zones, with one-third zoned no-take. The Australian government, acting primarily through the GBRMP Authority, is responsible for management, undertaken in conjunction with other federal and Queensland agencies, Indigenous Traditional owners and various other stakeholders.

Conservation of the GBR’s coral habitat requires three types of connectivity to be protected.

The first, and most important, is larval connectivity: most organisms on reefs have an obligate pelagic larval dispersive phase making connectivity a constant demographic necessity. Oceanic currents create spatiotemporally complex larval connectivity patterns that drive population dynamics on the GBR. These connectivity patterns are similar to terrestrial ecological corridors, but the dispersing organisms are not exposed to threats during dispersal, and so marine ecological corridors do not require protection. Instead, conservation outcomes are enhanced by networks of marine reserves that exchange large amounts of larvae, while fishery outcomes are improved when no-take zones are connected to fished areas. Understanding larval source populations is important for applying these design considerations into practice.

The second form of connectivity is ontogenetic migration, typically where species spend their early life-stages in estuarine/inshore habitats, before migrating offshore as adults.

The third is small-scale movement of adults for foraging or reproducing. Most coral reef species are benthic- associated, and so these movements occur at within-reef scales. However, pelagic species can undertake longer- distance adult movements between reefs.

The GBRMP was substantially rezoned and expanded in 2003, based on systematic planning principles. Eleven biophysical operating principles (BOPs) (GBRMPA, 2002) were devised to protect representative examples of each of the GBR’s 70 bioregions (30 reef habitat; 40 non-reef) (Fernandes et al., 2005). However, little information on connectivity was available for the 2003 rezoning, so proxies were used to design networks of no-take zones that would ensure the exchange of larvae between them, as well as the export of larvae to fished areas. Subsequent empirical studies and biophysical modeling demonstrated that this approach was successful to some extent, with larval dispersal connecting no-take zones at a range of scales, from local self-recruitment (Harrison et al., 2012) to consistent bi-directional exchanges of over 250 km (Williamson et al., 2016; Bode et al., 2019). 


U.S. announces $800 million in international commitments for protecting our ocean

At the Our Ocean Conference (OOC) in Panama, the United States highlighted new and recently launched global initiatives totaling more than USD 800 million to protect our ocean and assist developing countries – from supporting the creation of marine protected areas and helping partner countries secure and enforce their marine resources, to improving the resilience of coastal areas to climate change.


This issue area of marine protected areas of OOC focuses on the importance of well-designed and effectively managed marine protected areas (MPAs) as tools for biodiversity conservation and management, as well as their contributions to sustainable development writ large. The United States made three announcements totaling nearly USD$8 million under the MPAs area of action. The United States announced: The first cohort of endorsers of the Ocean Conservation Pledge to conserve or protect at least 30 percent of their jurisdictional ocean waters by 2030; USD$6 million for Konservasi Laut Efektif (Effective Marine Conservation) to improve the management of national and provincial marine protected areas; and USD$1.9 million in grants and cooperative agreements to support coral reef conservation in the Caribbean, Mesoamerica, Micronesia, and Coral Triangle regions.



Reading “The Classic of Mountains and Seas” well and protecting the blue sea

Ningde, located on the northeast wing of Fujian, is surrounded by mountains on three sides and facing the sea on one side. It integrates the advantages of “mountains, seas, rivers, islands, lakes, forests, and caves”, especially in terms of marine resources. With a sea area of 44,600 square kilometers and a mainland coastline of 1,046 kilometers, it is an important aquaculture area in Fujian and even the whole country.

The procuratorial organs of Ningde are loyal to their functions, and follow the strategic deployment of the city’s Party committee and government to build “Ningde on the Sea”, and focusing on important areas such as marine environmental governance, marine resource protection, marine order maintenance, and marine economic development. They adhere to the coordinated promotion of land and sea, practice the concept of joint consultation and win-win governance, read “The Classic of Mountains and Seas” well, compose the “collaborative song” well. They actively perform their duties to protect the blue coastline of eastern Fujian, cultivate the advantages of Ningde’s green development, and strive to contribute procuratorial power to the strong maritime city.


“The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has charted a new blueprint for ecological and environmental protection. The city’s procuratorial organs have deeply implemented the important discourses on building a strong maritime country, actively integrated into and served for the construction of the Sandu Ring Bay Area, fully played the role of legal supervision, and comprehensively promoted the governance of prominent issues in the marine field through the integrated working mechanism of marine procuratorial work, continuously improving the modernization level of the marine governance system and governance capabilities,” said ChenLianghua, chief procurator of the Procuratorate of Ningde.

Since 2022, the Ningde procuratorial organs have prosecuted 35 cases and 77 people for crimes related to the destruction of marine resources, with a total amount of over 45 million yuan. They have urged relevant departments to clean up over 100,000 cubic meters of sea drift garbage and properly dispose of over 190 tons of land hazardous waste. Adhering to the joint governance of rivers and seas, they have formulated and issued 97 pre-litigation procuratorial recommendations, using “self-management” to promote “management by all”, and promoting the continuous improvement of river and lake water environment.


Shenzhen bravely takes on the leading role in the marine ecological and environmental protection industry

In the “20+8” industrial cluster strategy of Shenzhen, the marine industry and safety, energy conservation and environmental protection industry are both of important industrial cultivation directions, and the marine ecological and environmental protection industry is one of the important cross fields. The “Action Plan for Cultivating and Developing Safety, Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Industry Clusters in Shenzhen (2022-2025)” further proposes the important goal of, by 2025, cultivating more than three enterprises with an annual value of output exceeding 10 billion yuan, 20 enterprises with an annual value of output exceeding 1 billion yuan, and at least 100 enterprises that use special and sophisticated technologies to produce novel and unique products.


The first is to strengthen industry orientation, highlight segmented fields, and make the marine ecological and environmental protection industry an important driving force. In the “Action Plan for Accelerating the Development of the Six Major Marine Industries in Guangdong Province (2019-2021)”,the marine public service section focuses on ocean observation and monitoring, and intelligent management services for coastal resources. As a global ocean center city, Shenzhen can explore the independent subdivision of marine environmental protection from the aquatic ecological environment, shape the characteristic brand of marine sustainable development, and cultivate a number of leading and specialized enterprises in the field of marine ecological environmental protection. Shenzhen is to improve supporting policies to encourage private capital to enter the marine ecological and environmental protection market, and provide marine ecological and environmental service products through public-private partnerships such as contract outsourcing, government procurement, franchising, and PPP.

The second is to accelerate the industrialization of marine ecological and environmental protection technology, and vigorously cultivate the marine ecological and environmental protection industry. Emphasis will be placed on cultivating the marine ecological environment monitoring industry. Technical research will be conducted in areas such as marine observation and monitoring, marine disaster prevention and reduction. Shenzhen will try to let enterprises undertake service-oriented observation and monitoring business, and increase support for marine observation and monitoring technology and equipment innovation platforms, production application demonstration platforms, performance testing and evaluation centers, and application demonstration projects. The city will vigorously develop the marine environmental protection disposal industry, support the research, development and manufacturing of technical equipment for heavy metal pollution control, marine oil pollution treatment, ship wastewater treatment and recycling, and marine floating garbage collection and disposal, improving the supply level of technical equipment for the marine environmental protection industry.

The third is to proactively provide value-added services for the blue economy. Shenzhen will strengthen the risk assessment and demonstration of marine ecological environment in industries such as offshore wind energy and offshore oil and gas. Focusing on enhancing the comprehensive service function for international shipping, the city will enhance the ability to obtain real-time information for marine environment, such as maritime vessel navigation, fishing vessel operations, marine aquaculture, and rescue, and provide forecasting and warning support. Shenzhen will provide conventional marine ecological environment information for ship routes, and provide the services of customized ship routes, route selection, and voyage evaluation. The city will carry out real-time monitoring and warning information release related to marine ecological environment elements for bathing beaches, sea sports, cruise ships, and yachts.



Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) initiated by the United Nations

On January 1, 2016, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including 169 targets, of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September 2015 at an historic UN Summit — officially came into force. Countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.