Connecting SDG 14 with the other sustainable development goals through marine spatial planning

Ntona, Maria and Morgera, Elisa (2018) Connecting SDG 14 with the other sustainable development goals through marine spatial planning. Marine Policy, 93. pp. 214-222. ISSN 0308-597X (

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This article endeavours to contribute to the growing body of scholarship on SDG linkages by placing at the centre of its focus SDG 14 on the “conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” It has been argued that SDG 14 largely revolves around environmental considerations, falling short of addressing the wide range of socioeconomic issues raised throughout the goal-framing process. In response to this claim, this article conceptualises the intricate interconnections between SDG 14 and other Goals based on the diverse benefits provided to humankind by marine ecosystems (in other words, through an ecosystem services lens). It explores how this understanding may facilitate the transition to an “environment for well-being” approach to development through marine spatial planning (MSP), on the basis of emerging international guidance under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). By bringing marine ecosystem services and MSP into the discussion on SDG linkages, this article seeks to investigate the role of the ecosystem approach, and of fair and equitable benefit-sharing within it, in fostering participatory knowledge production, data-gathering and -sharing, mapping, strategic assessment and area-based management in the context of intensifying uses, multiple scales, needs and values around the marine environment. The article will assess to what extent MSP, building upon these tools and drawing on ecosystem services mapping, should be used to promote equity and prevent conflicts between stakeholders with contradictory demands for marine space and ecosystem services, with a view to enhancing synergies between SDG 14 and other SDGs.