Sustainable Development Goal 14 in the Western Indian Ocean: a socio-ecological approach to understanding progress

Mialy Andriamahefazafy, Grégoire Touron-Gardic, Antaya Lauren Alexandra March, Pierre Failler, Gilles Hosch, Deng Palomares

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The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intend to “achieve a better and more sustainable future for all people in the world”. They have become a key driver for policy and decision-making in many regions, including in the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) region. This paper analyses national and regional progress towards achieving SDG 14 in the WIO. Progress of four of the SDG 14 targets that were due in 2020 are analysed. SDG 14 has influenced regional and national policy agendas but current tools to measure this progress fail to provide a detailed picture of achievement towards each target for countries in the WIO. The paper highlights that the region has shown limited success in achieving the targets and SDG 14 targets are unlikely to be reached by 2030. The WIO region lags behind with regard to marine conservation related targets. More than half of the countries have low to average progress on SDG 14.2 on marine areas being covered by area-based management tools. Even more countries are far from achieving the 10 % coverage of marine protected areas under SDG 14.5. The region is performing better with regards to fisheries management targets with most countries classified as making average to good progress towards SDG 14.4 on sustainable stocks and SDG 14.6 on addressing harmful subsidies and IUU fishing. The diversity of the socio-economic and governance contexts in the WIO countries contributes to different levels of progress. The fairly positive ecological state of the WIO supports progress towards SDG 14. Understanding barriers to progress is fundamental to help with the prioritisation of the actions needed to meet the SDG 14 targets by 2030. Regional actors and policy-makers will need to increase their ambitions to meet the SDG 14 targets and ensure a healthy ocean and improved prospects for the region and its citizens. To account for barriers in progress towards SDG 14, the WIO region needs appropriate reporting and monitoring mechanisms and it should follow a holistic regional approach of ocean governance integrating conservation and sustainable resource use. It needs to build capacity and knowledge sharing for implementation of SDG 14 and ocean governance at various levels. Improved implementation of SDG targets will have social, economic and environmental benefits within the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalWestern Indian Ocean Journal of Marine Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2022


  • SDG 14
  • area based management
  • marine protected areas
  • fish stocks
  • IUU fishing


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