28 January 2019

#SDGsinAcademia: SDG Hub for Goal 14

As part of the ongoing campaign on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) carried out by the United Nations, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) series #SDGSinAcademia profiles the new SDG Hubs for each one of the Goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

28 January 2019 - This week our #SDGsinAcademia series features the University of Bergen (Norway), a member institution of United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), that has been chosen as the SDG Hub for Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

About the Hub:

The University of Bergen (UiB)  is built on the foundations of the University Museum of Bergen, established in 1825. It hosted the founder of modern meteorology, Vilhelm Bjerknes, as well as the polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen, an early driving force behind Arctic and ocean research in Bergen. UiB is a comprehensive university that conducts and manages knowledge across all disciplines and sustainability runs through the research and education that it offers.

Cooperation with international partners is a vital part of UiB's activities and within the framework in early 2018, UiB established the strategic initiative SDG Bergen. This initiative aims to present scientific advice to governments and international bodies to aid them in decision-making processes. UiB has taken on a national leadership role among Norwegian universities, and every year it hosts the annual SDG Conference Bergen, which brings the university sector together with actors from other sectors to critically engage with the SDGs.

What is this Hub doing for SDG 14?

Since its founding, the University of Bergen has been committed to ocean science and education to provide decision-makers and society with knowledge about how to balance the need for sustainable use of ocean resources with preservation of our shared ocean. Ocean Sustainability Bergen (OSB) is a UiB-hosted centre, working with partner institutions worldwide. The aim is to engage with the SDGs and OSB as part of the university's SDG Bergen initiative.

The centre's overall goal is to strengthen the science-policy interface and to ensure that political decisions are better informed by science. With this centre, UiB aims to make research and science diplomacy a key part of Norway's contribution to  a sustainable ocean as part of the 2030 Agenda. At UiB the research and education on food from the Ocean cuts across disciplines.

Ocean Sustainability Bergen brings together scientists from UiB and partners worldwide to help create and implement the Ocean technology of the future. The initiative aims to support long-term research through close collaboration between prominent research institutions and R&D intensive companies.

UiB is Norway’s largest marine university with high quality international research and education and with several world class research environments, and marine research is one of the university’s three priority areas for 2016-2022.  The university offers a Master's program in Meteorology and Oceanography, which provides insight into the forces that control the movements of the atmosphere and the ocean including sea ice.

In August 2018, UiB signed a statement of intent with the Statsraad Lehmkuhl Foundation to collaborate on a circumnavigation of the world between 2021-2023. UiB will contribute research, dissemination and education along with ocean and climate monitoring, local and regional collaborations relating to the ocean, and a multidisciplinary education programme onboard for UiB students.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 reviews progress in the third year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has an overview that presents highlights of progress and remaining gaps for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), based on the latest available data, and examines some of the interconnections across Goals and targets.

This is the overview provided in the Report about Goal 14:

  • Advancing the sustainable use and conservation of the oceans continues to require effective strategies and management to combat the adverse effects of overfishing, growing ocean acidification and worsening coastal eutrophication. The expansion of protected areas for marine biodiversity, intensification of research capacity and increases in ocean science funding remain critically important to preserve marine resources.
  • The global share of marine fish stocks that are within biologically sustainable levels declined from 90 per cent in 1974 to 69 per cent in 2013.
  • Studies at open ocean and coastal sites around the world show that current levels of marine acidity have increased by about 26 per cent on average since the start of the Industrial Revolution. Moreover, marine life is being exposed to conditions outside previously experienced natural variability.
  • Global trends point to continued deterioration of coastal waters due to pollution and eutrophication. Without concerted efforts, coastal eutrophication is expected to increase in 20 per cent of large marine ecosystems by 2050.
  • As of January 2018, 16 per cent (or over 22 million square kilometers) of marine waters under national jurisdiction—that is, 0 to 200 nautical miles from shore—were covered by protected areas. This is more than double the 2010 coverage level. The mean coverage of marine key biodiversity areas (KBAs) that are protected has also increased—from 30 per cent in 2000 to 44 per cent in 2018.

The following resources provide general information about the SDGs:

  • This is a comprehensive research guide from the UN Library in Geneva listing resources about each one of the Goals, including books and articles (some of which are fully available on line free of charge), UN documents such as resolutions and reports, and additional resources.
  • The SDG Fund has created this online library featuring over 1,000 online publications. The publications are categorized by the Goals they represent, geographical regions and by authors, to facilitate searchability. Each publication also has a short summary attached to it which helps with keyword searches.
  • This selection of tools is an initiative supported by UNDP, UN-HABITAT and the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments, which offers concept notes, papers, case studies, compilation of best practices and guides providing contextual and practical information about the SDGs.
  • This guide, entitled “Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals”, is intended for stakeholders and designed by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) to serve as an initial basis for implementing the SDGs.
  • SDSN also developed this guide, entitled “Getting Started with the SDGs in Universities”, to help universities, institutions of higher education and the academic sector in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs by providing practical guidance and examples to inspire further action.

You can learn more about the SDG Hubs at the UNAI website.  

Is your institution a member of UNAI and conducting activities and initiatives around Goal 14? Contact us at academicimpact@un.org to tell us about your work and let us connect your university with the SDG Hub! Working together we can make the 2030 Agenda a reality!

The University of Bergen show how is working in engaging with SDG14, Life below water

The University of Bergen (Norway) produced this video to mark World Oceans Day, to highlight the research it does to advance SDG14: Life Below Water, and to share the ways in which it is educating researchers and leaders of the future on global sustainability.