A sustainable ocean is critical to the economy and human wellbeing, globally and locally, supporting resilience and recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. Our marine ecosystems support livelihoods, poverty alleviation and food security, as well as mitigating climate change, to name just a few benefits. Integrated governance must address significant pressures (e.g. over‑exploitation of resources, pollution and biodiversity loss) and sustain the ecosystem services that humans depend upon. 

Scotland is a global leader in ambitious policy for societal change and implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), notably through the National Performance Framework (NPF), the ‘Just Transition’ and the ‘Wellbeing Economy’. 

This programme aimed to facilitate interaction between diverse policy and science stakeholders for these policy agendas in Scotland. The focus was on an integrated understanding of the role of the ocean, its resources and socio-economic benefits, informing decision-making that addresses SDGs at multiple governance levels. Climate, seafood and connected issues are key areas of Scottish marine science expertise and were key themes and entry points for examining links to a wide range of SDGs.

Focussing on the themes of Climate Change and Seafood led to identification of connections to a wide range of SDGs and policy areas, including energy, production and consumption, natural capital, resource use and the circular economy, supply chain transparency, employment and nutritional health. 

Approaching these through the lenses of (a) the Just Transition and (b) biodiversity and ecosystem function, the team worked to integrate social, economic and ecological factors to deepen the understanding of interdependencies, synergies and trade-offs, enabling better integration of ocean considerations into policy and decision-making. 


Useful resources:

Programme Team

Dr Chris Leakey, University of St Andrews / MASTS

Prof. Daniela Diz, Heriot Watt University

Dr Lucy Greenhill, Howell Marine Consulting

Dr Estelle Jones, Scottish Government

Prof. Murray Roberts, University of Edinburgh

Dr Ingrid Kelling, Heriot Watt University

Dr Clive Mitchell, NatureScot

Prof. Mike Heath, University of Strathclyde

Prof. Trevor Telfor, University of Stirling

Prof. Selina Stead, University of Stirling

Alex Kinninmonth, RSPB Scotland

Prof. Andrew Brierley, University of St Andrews

Dr Tim Stojanovic, University of St Andrews

Dr Barbara Berx, Marine Scotland Science


Final Report


  • SUII SDG Conference 'Insight into Practice' Poster

To view posters produced by the other SDG programmes, visit our poster room.