The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Aichi Target 11 states that, “by 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative and well-connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes”. There has been rapid progress to meet the quantitative goal (the 10% target). However, the qualitative aspects of Aichi target 11 are less well described. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” reaffirms the quantitative element of Aichi target 11, and, through the described sub-targets, places further emphasis on the economic and social context of global development. The complexity of the language from Aichi target 11 is not mirrored in SDG 14, leading to a potential scenario where the knowledge and progress towards Aichi Target 11 will be diluted as the focus shifts to the SDGs. This paper presents current knowledge and implementation of the qualitative elements of Aichi Target 11 and highlights gaps in knowledge. We conclude that the progress made so far on describing and implementing the qualitative goals of Aichi Target 11 should be integrated into SDG 14 in order to strengthen global efforts for marine biodiversity conservation and support the broader vision for sustainable development that will “transform our world”.