What are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to build a more sustainable future for all. The 17 goals address the most critical global challenges, including ending poverty, reducing inequality, protecting the planet, and ensuring health and well-being. The goals were adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
How do small-scale fisheries contribute to achieving the SDGs?
Small-scale fisheries are critical to the economic and social wellbeing of communities around the world, helping to alleviate poverty, establish food security, support good health and nutrition, and provide economic security to millions of people. Recognizing the role of small-scale fisheries in supporting thriving communities and in achieving the SDGs is an important and often overlooked pathway towards a more sustainable future for all.
While fisheries are often cited as contributing to Goal 14: Life Below Water, it is important to highlight the intersection between SSFs and the full breadth of SDGs that they support. For example:
- Goal 1. No Poverty: Small-scale fisheries play a crucial part in poverty alleviation, providing valuable income for millions of people. Sustainable management can increase the contributions small-scale fisheries make toward alleviating poverty, supporting higher value catches, increasing wealth accumulation, and creating thriving enterprises along the value chain.
- Goal 2. Zero Hunger: As a local, accessible, and affordable source of protein and nutrition for people, small-scale fisheries have a central role to play in creating food secure communities, particularly given 95% of small-scale fishery catch is destined for human consumption, compared to as little as 45% of the catch from industrial fleets (World Bank et al., 2012).
- Goal 3. Good Health & Well-Being: Essential micronutrients found in fish, such as Vitamin A, D, and B, and calcium, phosphorus, zinc, iron and iodine, are critical to ending malnutrition. They have been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, support positive maternal health and pregnancy outcomes, improve early childhood development, improve immune system function; and alleviate health issues associated with micronutrient deficiencies such as anemia, rickets, childhood blindness, and stunting. Given the high rates of undernourishment in regions where small-scale fisheries are prevalent, these benefits are especially important to communities.
- Goal 5. Gender Equality: Women make up approximately half of the total small-scale fishery workforce and an even greater percentage in freshwater small-scale fisheries. When management of small-scale fisheries is attentive to the role of women, there are better outcomes for both gender equality and for the fishery. Sustainable small-scale fisheries can safeguard women’s livelihoods and build inclusive governance systems will help empower women to take on new roles and leadership.
- Goal 8. Decent Work & Economic Growth: Establishing thriving small-scale fisheries can lead to higher incomes for marginalized and vulnerable people, create new small- and medium-sized enterprises along the value chain, and bring an end to damaging labor practices, like forced labor.
Learn more about each of the Sustainable Development Goals
GOAL 1: NO POVERTY
End poverty in all its forms everywhere.
GOAL 2. ZERO HUNGER
End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.
GOAL 3. GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.
GOAL 4. QUALITY EDUCATION
Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
GOAL 5. GENDER EQUALITY
Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
GOAL 6. CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
GOAL 7. AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.
GOAL 8. DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Promote sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
GOAL 9. INDUSTRY, INNOVATION, AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
GOAL 10. REDUCED INEQUALITIES
Reduce inequality within and among countries.
GOAL 11. SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
GOAL 12. RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION
Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
GOAL 13. CLIMATE ACTION
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
GOAL 14. LIFE BELOW WATER
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
GOAL 15. LIFE ON LAND
Protect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.
GOAL 16. PEACE, JUSTICE, AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS
Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.
GOAL 17. PARTNERSHIPS FOR THE GOALS
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development for sustainable development through finance, technology, capacity-building, trade, policy coherence, multi-stakeholder partnerships data collection, and accountability.
Watch a video on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)