At the United Nations (UN) in 2015, 193 countries of the world agreed on 17 concrete goals to be achieved by 2030 for a more sustainable, equitable, prosperous and peaceful planet. Through its missions Tara Expeditions Foundation fully supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and especially the one dedicated for the first time to the seas and oceans.
Ambitious and utopian for some, the SDGs are the challenges facing the 9 billion people we will be tomorrow. Today, the development of our planet must be rethought, adapted and reinvented. This will not be possible without the effort of all. The SDGs will help countries to take one and the same direction, providing a new roadmap for the planet.
A SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL IS FINALLY DEDICATED TO OCEANS AND SEAS
For the first time, oceans and seas are the subject of a Sustainable Development Goal in United Nations discussions. It is n°14 on the list. The goal is to “conserve oceans and marine resources and manage them in a sustainable way” and specifically targets:
• Overexploitation of fisheries,
• Alternatives to fishing,
• Reducing marine pollution,
• Creation of more marine protected areas,
• Improving economic benefits for small developing islands,
• Increasing scientific knowledge.
The Tara Expeditions Foundation fully supports the SDGs. We fully participate in the implementation of SDG #14 by means of Tara’s expeditions and subsequent scientific research, educational outreach missions for schools and the general public, advocacy work with institutions and stakeholders, and a new FFEM funded project to support cooperation with developing countries.
We needed to convince of the importance of integrating the ocean into these sustainable development goals (SDGs). In the final text of the agreement, the UN had included a small passage stating that “oceans, seas and coastal areas are part and essential for the terrestrial ecosystem”. High level meetings,conferences, pleas have succeeded one another; the ocean had to be considered as a goal in its own right!
André Abreu, head for international policy
A family of Ulisalolo, in Papua New Guinea – © Vincent Hilaire / Tara Expeditions Foundation
THE TRANSITION FROM MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGS) TO THE SDGS
The road to better development started in the year 2000 with the definition of the 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). At the time of assessment in 2015, major advances had been made, but the road ahead remains long.
Why set new goals ?
Between 2000 and 2015, progress was made in the MDGs. The number of people living on less than $ 1.25 and the number of school-aged children not attending primary school a day have been cut in half. The number of people receiving vital anti-retroviral therapy is 15 times higher and infant mortality has been cut in half.
Nonetheless, in 2015 the signatory countries agreed that the world can do much better.
In 2017, 1 person in 9 still suffers from hunger, and 1 person in 6 is illiterate (of these, two-thirds are women). The objectives must also address the new issues of our century: climate change, deforestation and threatened marine ecosystems.
How are the objectives different?
Now all countries of, the world are supporting the new goals, not only emerging countries but also developed ones. Every nation must take responsibility for the future of the planet.
Today’s SDGs are more numerous and the vision of development is more complete: it is not only societal (poverty, health, equality) but also environmental and economic. Goals are no longer treated separately but are considered to be interconnected.
How to achieve these goals?
The SDGs introduce a new dimension : partnerships. Development should be everyone’s responsibility and the achievement of our objectives engages all participants: policy-makers (national and public), the international community (for project financing), NGOs (for advocacy), the private sector (for investments and innovation) but also the support of scientific research to help make the most informed and pragmatic decisions.
The Tara Expeditions Foundation fully supports the SDGs. Because the 2030 Agenda is not binding for states, the Foundation will continue to challenge decision makers and provide scientific expertise to support and convince the international community to mobilize for the sustainable development of the oceans.