Ocean and coasts

IUCN works to conserve coastal, marine and polar ecosystems, and the many benefits they provide for humanity.  


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About ocean and coasts

Unsustainable exploitation, pollution and the climate crisis threaten marine species and ecosystems around the world. Less than 3% of the global ocean has escaped human pressure. Unless things change, there will be profound impacts to life in the oceans, to global weather systems, and for the more than three billion people whose livelihoods depend on marine and coastal biodiversity. 


USD 375Bn


estimated value of resources and services provided by coral reefs each year


14 million+


tonnes of plastic end up in oceans each year




of the ocean is fully or highly protected 

Our work

The ocean sequesters carbon but is increasingly damaged by warming, deoxygenation and acidification from greenhouse gas pollution. IUCN encourages governments to integrate Nature-based Solutions as part of their commitments under the Paris Agreement. These solutions also contribute to conserving biodiversity and supporting jobs, livelihoods and health.

– Marseille Manifesto

We work to ensure that coastal, marine and polar ecosystems are restored and maintained, and that any use of their resources is sustainable and equitable. Our research guides the conservation of these ecosystems and the many benefits they provide to people, and helps integrate these benefits into international law, and into economic and climate change policies.