Science for deep-ocean sustainability
by Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (Scientific community)
The Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (DOSI) is a union of experts from across disciplines and sectors formed to develop new ideas for sustainable use and management of deep-ocean ecosystems, and strategies to maintain their integrity within and beyond national jurisdiction. The Deep Ocean Observing Strategy (DOOS) is a Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) project focused on creating and implementing a collective statement of requirements and an initial strategy for sustained global deep-ocean observations for the next 10-50 years, in service of societal challenges. The International Network for Scientific Investigation of Deep-Sea Ecosystems (INDEEP) is a global collaborative scientific network dedicated to the acquisition of data, synthesis of knowledge, and communication of findings on the biology and ecology of our global deep ocean, in order to inform its management and ensure its long-term health.

DOSI, DOOS, and INDEEP will work to build global scientific capacity to address SDG 14 targets as they relate to the deep ocean (> 200 m). Through our partnership network of more than 1,000 deep-sea scientists and other stakeholders, DOSI, INDEEP and DOOS will coordinate cross-disciplinary integration to increase scientific knowledge, develop skills and harness technology to address current and expected human impacts including those related to climate change. We will work to advance understanding of deep-ocean ecosystems within and beyond national jurisdictions in order to facilitate the achievement of SDG Targets 14.2, 14.3, 14.5, 14.7, 14.a and 14.c .

1. Promote open access to essential deep ocean observations (physics, biogeochemistry, biology and ecosystems) and freedom of marine scientific research to enable understanding of baseline conditions in the deep ocean and inform ecosystem-based management and spatial planning through space and time;
2. Encourage free and open scientific inquiry into the cumulative effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change combined with other human-induced stressors in the deep ocean;
3. Liaise between research programs, national agencies, international organizations and other stakeholders to share scientific research, communicate data and offer expertise that can inform actions to address current and projected threats to the deep ocean, within and beyond national jurisdiction;
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
  • Marine Spatial Planning
  • Large Marine Ecosystem approach
  • Ecosystem-based Adaptation
  • Other (please specify): deep-ocean beyond national jurisdiction
Minimize and address the impacts of ocean acidification, including through enhanced scientific cooperation at all levels
Type of commitment
  • Scientific research and cooperation to address ocean acidification knowledge gaps
By 2020, conserve at least 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, consistent with national and international law and based on the best available scientific information
Type of commitment
  • Other (please specify): marine protected areas beyond national jurisdiction
By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism
Type of commitment
  • Economic benefits from sustainable fisheries
  • Other : Sustainability of deep seabed mineral extraction
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
  • Scientific, socioeconomic and interdisciplinary research
  • Research capacity development
  • Data access and sharing
  • Scientific cooperation
  • Transfer marine technology
  • Actions that support SIDS and LDCs
  • Other (please specify):
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
  • Activities to raise awareness of the comprehensive legal and policy framework for the sustainable development of oceans and seas, in particular UNCLOS, its Implementing Agreements and other relevant ocean-related instruments and promote their effective im
  • Activities to develop the capacity of States towards broader participation in and effective implementation of UNCLOS and its implementing Agreements
  • Other (please specify): Development of policy for areas beyond national jurisdiction
June 2020
DOSI, DOOS and INDEEP will provide contributions to the 2nd World Ocean Assessment in areas linked to SDG 14 via expert scientific input as requested.
June 2020
To support SDG targets 14.2, 14.5, 14.a and 14.c DOSI will, by 2020, provide deep-sea scientific input (including on issues of marine genetic resources, area-based management, environmental impact assessments, and capacity building and transfer of marine technology) to contribute to the development of an international legally binding instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. To support SDG targets 14.2, 14.7 and 14.c, the DOSI Minerals Working Group, will, by 2020, contribute expert advice to: (i) the International Seabed Authority regarding the development and implementation of regulations for the exploitation of deep-seabed mining activities in the Area; and (ii) upon request, to Small Island Developing States and Least Developed States engaged in, or considering, development of seabed mineral resources. To promote the achievement of SDG targets 14.2, 14.4 14.5 and 14.c, the DOSI Fisheries Working Group will contribute to: (i) the development and/or review of the scientific basis for deep-sea fisheries regulations, including environmental impact assessments, to prevent significant adverse impacts on vulnerable marine ecosystems; and (ii) the UN General Assembly review of the implementation of the deep-sea fisheries resolutions in 2020, consistent with SDG target 14.2.
June 2025
In support of SDG target 14.a DOOS will, by 2025, work with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO, DOSI and INDEEP to : (a) facilitate monitoring of the status and health of the deep ocean and its biodiversity by: (i) contributing to the definition of essential ocean variables (EOVs); (ii) facilitating development of new deep-ocean observing technologies; (iii) building stable, long-term support for deep-ocean observing; and (iv) supporting coordination of existing deep-ocean observing programs across regions and disciplines, and (b) enhance deep-ocean data accessibility globally to expand scientific and technical capacity for managing deep-ocean ecosystems among Small Island Developing States and least developed countries by 2025.
June 2025
To promote the achievement of SDG 14.3 and 14.c, the DOSI Climate Working Group will work to understand and address the impacts of ocean acidification and related climate impacts of warming, ocean deoxygenation, organic carbon flux and changing circulation in the deep ocean by 2025 by: (i) assembling scientists to synthesize best-available scientific knowledge on climate impacts on deep-ocean ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide and develop new knowledge to improve assessment of these impacts, (ii) raising awareness in relevant international fora of the roles of the deep ocean in climate mitigation and adaptation, and (iii) informing the development of adaptation strategies and designing monitoring actions to optimize their efficiency.
In-kind contribution
Coordination of experts to address key sustainability issues
Staff / Technical expertise
Scientific expertise will be provided by a community of deep ocean experts
Basic information
Time-frame: June 30, 2017 - June 30, 2025
Deep Ocean Stewardship Initiative (Scientific community), Deep Ocean Observing Strategy (Scientific community), International Network for Scientific Investigation of Deep-Sea Ecosystems (Scientific Community)
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Global beneficiaries
Contact information
Lisa Levin , Professor, llevin@ucsd.edu, + 1 858-229-2667
La Jolla, California, USA
Other SDGs
United Nations