Goal #14

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

SDG 14 Life Below Water

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

UNSW is committed to caring for and contributing to global research on life below water and demonstrates this through:

  • Leading research into coastal and temperate marine environments at the Centre for Marine Science & Innovation
  • Education programs provided by the Global Water Institute and Centre for Marine Science & Innovation
  • A plastic-free program to support the reduction of plastic waste into waterways and oceans
  • Programs to increase awareness and engagement about the marine environment and joint marine research and rehabilitation projects.

How can we rebuild our marine life?

Many marine species, habitats and ecosystems have suffered catastrophic declines, and climate change further undermines ocean productivity and biodiversity. Key threats are pollution and overfishing. More than 12 million metric tons of plastic enters our oceans each year and the rate in which plastic finds its way in to our ocean is increasing. Single use plastics remain high and recycling low. Australia alone uses 118,000 tons of single use plastic bottles per year with only 40% being recycled. 60% enters landfills and waterways, taking 1,000 years to biodegrade. The good news is biodiversity losses in the ocean are less pronounced than those on land, and many marine species are capable of recovery once pressures are reduced or removed.

In this video, Professor Tracey Rogers from the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW, breaks down some of the key challenges behind SDG #14.

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UNSW Centre for Marine Science and Innovation

The CMSI focuses on researching fundamental knowledge on the functions, processes, interactions and changes in the marine environment and use this to develop innovative solutions for management, conservation and economic developments. Our expertise and experience cover a multidisciplinary mix of ecological and biological sciences, physical and biological oceanography, environmental impact assessment, as well as coastal geomorphology and engineering. We provide a dynamic environment for education, outreach, communication, engagement and collaboration. 

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Global Ocean Accounts Partnership with UK government

Sea pollution, plastic floating under water

The UK government announced a $1.8 million initial contribution to the Global Ocean Accounts Partnership (GOAP), coordinated by UNSW Sydney. The GOAP is one of the first projects announced under £16.2 million in funding from the UK’s £500 million Blue Planet Fund. This round of funded projects will increase marine protection, tackle plastic pollution and the decline of global coral reefs.

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UNSW Scientists lead hydraulic aspects of the Blue Carbon Method

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UNSW’s Associate Professor Will Glamore, Dr Valentin Heimhuber and Jamie Ruprecht of the UNSW Water Research Laboratory (WRL) have been invited to lead the hydrologic aspects of the Commonwealth Clean Energy Regulator’s ‘Blue Carbon Method’.  


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UN Ocean Conference Side Event

The Global Ocean Accounts Partnership secretariat (hosted by UNSW) organised this event titled ‘Sustainable Development Beyond GDP: Scaling global efforts to make nature and people count through ocean accounts’. Panellists represented governments from eight countries including Australia.

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UNSW Water Research Laboratory

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Providing research & advice to industry & local government on water matters for over 50 years in areas of the coast, estuaries, inland waterways, wetlands, groundwater & potable water.

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UNSW Global Water Institute

Sea pollution, plastic floating under water

World leader in water research, innovation and problem solving. The Institute draws on water expertise across UNSW to create the Nation’s most advanced water knowledge hub.

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Podcast: Justice for the Oceans | Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Prof Emma Johnston

Globally-renowned ocean defender Dr Ayana Elizabeth Johnson is clear: saving the oceans is key to fighting the climate crisis. Listen to this conversation between Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and leading Australian marine scientist Emma Johnston.

This event was presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and UNSW Science, and the Powerhouse Museum for the 2021 Sydney Science Festival.

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UNSW Strategy in Action 2025

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UNSW 2025 Strategy Update

This document celebrates the key achievements of the first phase of the 2025 Strategy, highlighting where we have come from and where we are now. It also updates the framework against which we will assess, track and measure existing and new strategic initiatives over the next five years.


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UNSW Environmental Sustainability Report

UNSW has a history of environmental stewardship across research, learning & teaching and campus operations across several decades. The Environmental Sustainability Report 2021 measures and outlines our achievements to date.

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UNSW Sustainable Development Goals 2022 Report

This report outlines UNSW's performance against the SDGs in 2022.


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