Portugal embraced the commitments made in the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations in September 2015.
The promotion of the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean was advocated by Portugal from the outset of the 2030 Agenda negotiations. And it is one of the main strategic priorities of the Agenda 2030 implementation in our country.
The 2030 Agenda integrates 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), including SDG 14:
sustainably use the oceans,
seas and marine resources
Here we present the main lines of work developed in Portugal for the implementation of the SDG 14.
The Ocean Dimension of the 2030 Agenda
The 2030 Agenda brings forward a plan of action that aims to mobilize all countries, organizations and citizens of the world in solving the challenges of the sustainable development.
This Agenda is comprised of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and 169 comprehensive targets, aimed at eradicating hunger, poverty and inequality and developing human societies, while respecting the planet's sustainability.
The 2030 Agenda includes an SDG focused entirely on the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean, SGD 14. But the relationship between this Agenda and the ocean is not limited to this goal. There are a number of other goals that contribute to this cause.
On the other hand, the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda have multiple interconnections that are expressed in the most diverse initiatives, many of which contribute to the conservation of the ocean. A good ocean-related example are the campaigns to promote responsible fish consumption that meet SDG’s target 14, but also SDG 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 12 (responsible consumption and production) and 17 (partnerships for the goals).
Sustainable Development Goal 14
The 2030 Agenda defines a set of targets for each goal. The SDG 14 includes the following:
14.1 Prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, including marine litter
14.2 Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems
14.3 Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification
14.4 Promote sustainable fishing
14.5 Conserve coastal and marine areas
14.6 Prohibit fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing
14.7 Increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources
14.a Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology
14.b Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
14.c Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources
The national approach towards the challenges of the 2030 Agenda in the field of the ocean follows an integrated maritime policy approach. The knowledge of ocean processes and the monitoring of the environmental status of the marine and coastal ecosystems, as well as the maritime spatial planning, are essential to ensure that human and economic activities are developed in a sustainable manner and in compliance with environmental values. Included in this approach is the creation and management of marine protected areas of adequate size. And, a fisheries policy ensuring that stocks are exploited and managed within maximum sustainable yields.
Some of the national challenges have a global scale, such as pollution, and in particular marine litter, which cannot be addressed in isolation by any country, showcasing that international cooperation efforts are required.
In this context, the commitment of Portugal, and in particular of the Ministry of the Sea institutions, is of particular relevance in defining a set of actions and projects that contribute to the achievement of the nationally established targets, and also to the global effort for sustainable development. It is also worth mentioning the actions of promoting international cooperation in a global effort to mobilize sustainable development in favor of the ocean.
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires integrating the sustainability logic into various policies and projects, the coordination of the many entities and initiatives and the close follow-up with all stakeholders.
Portugal played a key role in the inclusion of an objective exclusively dedicated to the conservation of the ocean in the 2030 Agenda and, since its approval, it has been committed to contribute actively to its implementation.
To this end, Portugal has taken a leading role in organizing the United Nations Conference to support the implementation of SDG 14, entitled “The Ocean Conference” in particular as co-facilitator of the negotiations on the final declaration “Our Ocean, Our Future: Call for Action”.
Portugal continues its work towards the implementation of SGD 14 and to this end, intends to host in Lisbon the next United Nations Ocean Conference, in 2020. In order to continue its work towards ocean sustainability beyond 2020, Portugal is also committed to supporting the preparation and start of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).
National Report on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda
Implementation and Monitoring
Portuguese voluntary commitments to implement the 2030 Agenda
United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal
United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development
Regarding international cooperation for the protection of the marine environment, it is worth emphasizing the Cooperation Agreement for the Protection of the Coasts and Waters of the North-East Atlantic Against Pollution, known as the Lisbon Agreement, for having been signed in the Portuguese capital. This is an international cooperation mechanism established between Spain, France, Morocco, Portugal and the European Union (formerly the European Economic Community), with the general objective of ensuring cooperation between the contracting parties in the event of a pollution accident at sea. In this Agreement, the contracting parties undertake to establish their own intervention agencies and to implement national contingency plans to cover the waters of the North-East Atlantic and to protect the natural resources and economic activities dependent on them.
It also highlights all the work developed at the level of the bilateral and multilateral relationship, in which it is sought to negotiate lines of cooperation in the area of the sea that contribute to the fulfillment of the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda. In general, these instruments address themes such as the sustainable management of fisheries resources, maritime spatial planning and the development of scientific research and technological development programs, among others, which contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and in particular the SDG 14.
In recent years, Portugal has affirmed internationally its leadership in sustainable ocean governance by integrating the High Level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy, at the Prime-Minister level, and the United Nations Global Compact, an enterprise citizenship initiative fully committed to Agenda 2030 and the implementation of SDG.
Portugal's ambition to comply with SDG 14 is currently embodied in 19 voluntary commitments undertaken by the Portuguese government between 2017 and 2018. The commitments were publicly announced at high-level international conferences dedicated to the ocean.
These commitments cover distinct areas such as marine litter reduction through technological platforms and tools to promote the recycling of waste produced on board ship, the classification of at least 14% of marine and coastal areas or the increase of funding for conservation of marine biodiversity and research and innovation in the field of marine science.
These commitments, which are expected to be reinforced by others in the coming years, are in line with the SDG 14 targets:
By 2020, develop technological platforms and tools that reduce marine pollution and promote the circular economy of the sea (Target 14.1)
By 2030, expand the project “Fisheries for a Sea Without Litter” to all fishing ports in the Portuguese mainland (Target 14.1) (*) (**)
Work at the regional level, within the OSPAR Convention, for the reduction of marine litter in the Atlantic (Target 14.1) (*) (**)
Develop Maritime Spatial Plans (MSP) covering the entire area under Portuguese jurisdiction by 2020, using ecosystem-based approaches (Target 14.2) (*) (**)
Create an evaluation and monitoring system of the Blue Fund that is aligned with Goal 14 targets (Target 14.2) (*) (**)
Develop new regulations by 2020 addressing the introduction of marine non-indigenous species to ensure the effective implementation of the Ballast Water Convention (Target 14.2) (**)
By 2030, raise the awareness on the sustainable use of our ocean trough the Blue School Programme (Target 14.2) (***)
Reduce by-catches and discards from fisheries by 2023 (Target 14.4) (*) (**)
Till 2020 Portugal commits to develop and implement a certification system for local fisheries that comply with dolphin-friendly practices (harbour purpoise) (Target 14.4) (***)
Till 2030 Portugal commits to continue raising awareness of sustainable fish consumption (Target 14.4) (***)
By 2020, conserve at least 14 per cent of coastal and marine areas under national jurisdiction (Target 14.5) (*) (**)
Promote and increase the public investment on projects focused on marine biodiversity conservation by 2 Million Euros by 2020 (Target 14.5) (*) (**)
Increase knowledge on the value of marine natural capital and ecosystem services to support decision-making processes (Target 14.5) (***)
By 2020, establish a Port Tech Cluster in Lisbon and the Atlantic Observatory in the Azores (Target 14.a) (*) (**)
Portugal reaffirmed its commitment to raise international awareness regarding “Oceans and Human Health” (Target 14.a) (*) (**)
Finance EUR 3 million by 2020 to support the upgrade of National Information and Communication Technology Systems on Ocean Environment Management Protection and Economic Activities (Target 14.a) (**)
Increase by 2020 funding of deep-sea scientific research, including on seabed mining, with the creation of the Atlantic Observatory (based on the Azores Islands, an investment of 15 million euros) and the participation on the JPI Oceans Initiative (Target 14.a) (**)
Promote the transfer of scientific knowledge and technology to SIDS and LDC in the context of CPLP (Target 14.a) (***)
Portugal commits to allocate 0,5 million euros until the end of 2021 to support the preparation and starting phase of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) (Target 14.a) (***)
The voluntary commitments originally submitted and their respective reasoning were compiled in the document “Goal 14 – PT voluntary commitments”.
(*) Commitment presented at The United Nations Ocean Conference (NY, 5-9.JUN.2017)
available at: https://oceanconference.un.org/commitments/ )
(**) Commitment presented at the 2017 Our Ocean Conference (Malta, 5-6.OCT.2017)
available at: https://ourocean2017.org/our-ocean-commitments )
(***) Commitment presented at the 2018 Our Ocean Conference (Bali, 29-30.OCT.2018)
available at: https://ourocean2018.org/?l=our-ocean-commitments )
A national fund which finances projects of various types, aiming at boosting the economy of the sea and at the same time contributing to the implementation of SDG 14. In this context, the most relevant areas of funding are those related to scientific and technological ocean research, renewable ocean energies and the monitoring and protection of the marine environment.
The Blue Growth programme of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area, better known as EEA Grants, aims to support projects that promote sustainable marine and maritime growth by giving priority to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
This program also supports research, science and technology, as well as supporting education and vocational training.
In recent years, several initiatives have emerged aiming to stimulate the increase of technology intensity and the sophistication of the business models of the maritime sectors, through a sustainable perspective. Many actions and projects contribute to achieving the goals set at the national level, which is also a contribution to the global effort for sustainable development. The following are the most relevant:
An online platform for the promotion of products and services of the Portuguese Blue Economy aligned with the SDG. It aims to disseminate the main initiatives of the different sectors of the Portuguese Blue Economy, to attract potential investments and construct partnerships contributing to the development of the blue economy, as well as contributing to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
Any Portuguese entity, public or private, that develops innovative products and services in the Blue Economy area with a potential contribution to the 2030 Agenda, can submit their "blue solutions" at and be part of this innovation community for Sustainable Blue Economy.
An open innovation program in view of the acceleration of startups linked to the Blue Economy. The objective of this initiative is to connect startups with the main players in the Blue Economy sector aiming at creating a pioneering ecosystem of open innovation and business acceleration. The first edition of the program is strategically focused in the Port & Shipping industry and benefits from a partnership with the Luso-American Development Foundation (FLAD).
The implementation of the 2030 Agenda provides for the definition and implementation of a set of indicators to monitor compliance with the targets set at the global level.
Portugal associates itself with the global monitoring effort, so at the national level monitoring of SDG 14 is currently ensured through priority indicators associated with three targets: 14.4, 14.5 e 14.a.
Indicators 14.4.1 and 14.5.1 were developed at national level. They are classified as priority indicators (level I) by the United Nations, i.e. they are conceptually clear indicators with established methodology and standards and with regularly produced data at national level.
To measure progress towards SDG target 14.4, on sustainable fishing, three indicators have been developed that adopt different assessment methodologies and cover fisheries resources from mainland Portugal, the Azores and Madeira.
Stock with analytical assessment
Stock with precautional approach
Stock with national numerical evaluation
14.a.1. - Proportion of investment in scientific marine technology R&D services in total investment in intellectual property products (Base 2011)
For target 14.5, an indicator has been defined that measures the proportion of marine protected areas relative to the maritime area under national jurisdiction.
The monitoring of target 14.a is ensured by the indicator that measures the proportion of investment in scientific marine technology R&D services in percentage of the total investment in intellectual property products, which is part of the Satellite Account for the Sea.
In June 2019, the publication "Sustainable Development Objectives. Indicators for Portugal ", was issued by the National Statistics Institute (INE). The document presents the update of the main monitoring results of the 2030 Agenda by Portugal, including the results of indicators defined for SDG 14.
Finally, it is expected that this monitoring efforts will be strengthened in the near future by the SEAMInd project - Indicators and economic, social and environmental monitoring, in support of the National Strategy for the Sea.
The first National Report on the Implementation of the 2030Agenda for Sustainable Development was presented by Portugal at the United Nations in New York in July 2017.
This report includes a chapter devoted entirely to SDG 14, which presents the thematic strategic framework, the contributions of Portugal and the main challenges to the achievement of the targets established by the United Nations.
The 2030 Agenda, as a truly universal initiative, embraces all initiatives, whether they are fostered by the public entities, the private sector, the academia or the civil society.
In order to mobilize organizations and citizens for sustainable development, specific outreach initiatives are being developed in the context of conferences, debates, fairs and other events. These initiatives complement the publicity provided through the portal oceaninvest.pt, which is an online platform for the promotion of innovative products and services of the Portuguese Blue Economy, aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Objectives.
With the same general objective, the promotion of the Ocean Literacy, actively mobilizing the civil society, and in particularly children and young people to the understanding of the influence of the ocean on us and our influence on the ocean, is especially relevant. The Blue School (Escola Azul) educational program promoted by the Ministry of the Sea stands out in this context, since it supports and distinguishes the Portuguese schools that work the ocean in a consistent and articulated way.