FIG Commission 4 - Hydrography

Working Group 4.2
Blue Growth & UN Sustainable Development Goal 14

Policy Issues

The United Nations Development Programme Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) advances the sustainable use and conservation of the oceans and requires effective strategies and management to combat adverse effects on the oceans through overfishing, growing ocean acidification and worsening coastal eutrophication.

The Blue Growth & SDG 14 work plan is based upon the ongoing work of Commission 4. It is a diverse and wide ranging topic but the primary focus for Working Group 4.2 is the development and promotion of measures to manage our oceans and seas in a sustainable manner based upon accurate data, sound environmental principles and good management practices.

The Hydrographic Surveyor has a key role in developing an understanding of our seas and oceans for the wider social benefits and Commission 4 aims to promote this role, the benefits and offer case studies of participation and support.


Gordon Johnston, United Kingdom


What we are working on -

  • The Working Group 4.2 shall seek to promote and engage with international government and nongovernmental organisations to increase the understanding and awareness of the importance of the marine and ocean areas.

What's New

The Blue Economy is important as it provides a vital source of food and benefits from a host of industry sectors, technology and innovation. It can provide a valuable Return On Income (ROI) for investors. The UN SDG’s, especially SDG-14 cannot be obtained without a much more systematic survey coverage of our oceans. The GEBCO Seabed 2030 project has this objective. (See: ).

The pressures on limited ocean and sea resources continue. Resilience to the impact of man, climate or natural disasters needs to be developed and enhanced. Fifty years ago the Ocean was considered nonfinite and extractive. Today the Ocean is finite, considered an ecosystem that requires management to enable Ocean Health to be sustainable. These are real challenges.

Relating the SDG’s to aspects of the Blue Economy:

It is an enormous, growing market
Every 2nd breath of Oxygen we take is from ocean organisms

Food: aquaculture/mariculture essential to feed humanity
Water: 97% of earth’s water in the ocean
Ocean energy: inexhaustible, clean, renewable energy
Medicine:  Exploring for organisms to seed new drug research e.g.Seabiotech & Pharmasea in Europe NOAA scientists have also extracted chemicals from corals & sponges that fight some of the worst infectious bacteria.
Real estate: Especially around our coasts with water rising…much infrastructure will float

  • 1,2,5,11,15,16 are directly related to Land issues
  • New Urban Agenda & Rapid Urbanisation
  • 1,2,3,6,7,12,13,14 are related to seas and oceans

The WG aim to publish a short paper on the Blue Economy, the role of surveying and the Hydrographic surveyor in delivering a sustainable clean ocean for the benefit of all. This aligns with the UN’s SDG’s.