14 Questions about Goal 14: Rescuing Lives Below Water

Written by Adenike Bamigbade

Few days ago, we aired our voice on the need to #BeatAirPollution, we often pay more attention to lives on land but don’t seem to bother about lives below water. The 17 Goals have been designed to solve problems around critical areas of life and Goal 14 is as important as every other goals. Most importantly, we understand the Goals are interdependent, and lives below water contributes to economic development of a nation- this means, a neglect of Goal 14 is a rise in hunger and poverty.

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This is why SDGs Champions like Oghenekevwe Christopher Oghenechovwen who understand the need for a thriving ocean community has taken the further steps to campaign for full protection of lives below water. To mark this year World Ocean’s Day today, Oghenekevwe Christopher Oghenechovwen shares 14 things we need to know and protect the ocean community.

Oghenekevwe Christopher Oghenechovwen

Oghenekevwe Christopher Oghenechovwen who is currently rounding off his Bachelor’s programme in Meteorology and Climate Science at the Federal University of Technology Akure in Nigeria has 4 years experience in the ocean-climate science. He is driven by his commitment to reduce knowledge-gaps of the physical environment and have his voice stand up for communities facing environmental risks. He is a recipient of the Independent Ocean Research Contract Award – The Economist Intelligence Unit (Jul 2018).


“The ocean covers 71% of earth and so shapes our planet; it influences our weather and climate by absorbing heat and carbon dioxide; provides freshwater, food and oxygen; supports biodiversity and important ecosystems – yet, it remains largely unexplored”

– Oghenekevwe Christopher Oghenechovwen

  1. Why does the world need Goal 14?

Oghenechovwen: Goal 14 is needed because it facilitates long-term and coherent opportunities for us to understand our ocean and seas and our impact on them, as well as to design solutions to make this impact sustainable. The ocean covers 71% of earth and so shapes our planet; it influences our weather and climate by absorbing heat and carbon dioxide; provides freshwater, food and oxygen; supports biodiversity and important ecosystems – yet, it remains largely unexplored. Human pressures fuel the issues currently facing the ocean: we over-fish and over-exploit, we pollute, and produce more carbon dioxide that the ocean can handle.

2. What are the economic values of sustaining the lives below water?

Oghenechovwen: The ocean drive the global economy and supports up to 5.4 million jobs. With a blend of solutions, existing ocean industries can be accelerated and scaled, while emerging and new ones can be unlocked. For example, marine biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, aquaculture, commerce, coastal tourism, fisheries, renewable energy, and deep sea mining.

3. How can we achieve sustainable fishing in areas that depend on it?

Oghenechovwen: This can be achieved by strengthening laws against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; ensuring subsidies and taxes are fair and according to best practices, establishment of marine protected areas, conservation areas, and replenishment zones; and use of technology such as satellites for observations, monitoring, and hazard warning.

4. What is the link between climate change and ocean health?

Oghenechovwen: Climate change is now altering marine systems and resulting in extreme ocean warming, acidification, and sea level rise. Interestingly, a healthy and resilient ocean is able to provide solutions needed for supporting climate mitigation, adaptation, and biodiversity

5. How else can we manage our solid wastes instead of turning to the ocean?

Oghenechovwen: Before thinking of dumping, we should fully explore and implement the option of reduction, reusing, recycling, or recovery. Conscious waste prevention technique does well for the ocean and society, and forms the core of a circular economy.

6. How can we improve ocean health?

Oghenechovwen: Through lowering carbon dioxide emissions, changing our consumption patterns, proper waste prevention and management, and establishment of protected areas.

7. What is the role of the government?

Oghenechovwen: For inclusive decision-making processes and implementation of plans, the government ought to always connect with other stakeholder groups, including youth and early career professionals.

8. Share ideas on practical ways young people can get involved

Oghenechovwen: We need to keep talking about it. Climate change is central to both lives on land and below the water. We need more advocates with good knowledge and insights to keep putting the policymakers on their foot and keep enlightening other Nigerians.

9. What are you doing to improve ocean health?

Oghenechovwen: Currently, I am involved in strategy, research, and support on ocean sustainability, climate change, and youth engagement issues.

10. Share how other young people can join you do what you do

Oghenechovwen: A story I did last year also answers this. “Becoming a Climate Ambassador; 4 things you can do”. READ HERE

11. In the article you shared, you mentioned that we should remain optimistic, can you give more insights on that?

Oghenechovwen: It is tiring when our advocacy drive is not yielding any result but we have to stay resilient. We need more young people to continue the campaign.

12. How can we take these campaigns offline?

Oghenechovwen: Communities are everything. Membership in a community creates more freedom and opportunity for sustainably driving aspirations, new ideas, and actions. We can share in tabling events, via virtual spaces, during walks, at town hall meetings or the market, on the bus, wherever.

13. There are few young people like you advocating for this: what is your motivation?

Oghenechovwen: I am driven by my commitment to reduce knowledge-gaps of the physical environment and have my voice stand up for communities facing environmental risks.

14. How do we get more young people to drive Goal 14?

Oghenechovwen: Learning more about climate change comes with an unceasing sense of responsibility that we must commit to. A responsibility to stand up and become a leader for our climate. A responsibility to influence people, beliefs, and sectors so better decisions are made, so the environment is seen as an important system and the possibilities for solving climate change is actualized.


Do you want to feature your article or story on our blog, please send an email to chronicles@nigerianyouthsdgs.org