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Ocean Sustainability Bergen
OCEAN SCIENCE DIPLOMACY

About Ocean Sustainability Bergen

Ocean Sustainability Bergen was a multidisciplinary research centre (2018-2021) created as a strategic tool by the University of Bergen leadership to provide research for a sustainable ocean.

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Ocean Sustainability Bergen (OSB) was a virtual centre hosted by the University of Bergen (UiB) in Norway, working with partner institutions worldwide. The centre's aim was to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and was part of the university's strategic initiative SDG Bergen, which presented scientific advice to governments and international bodies to aid them in decision-making processes. The overall goal was to strengthen the science-policy interface and to ensure that political decisions are better informed by science. With this centre, UiB made research and science diplomacy a key part of Norway's contribution towards a sustainable ocean, as part of the UN's 2030 Agenda.

OSB administered the university’s status as SDG14 Hub for United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and leading the SDG14 cluster for the International Association of Universities (IAU), heading a consortium of ten world-leading marine universities to engage with the 2030 Agenda. OSB's Scientific Directors were Professor Peter M. Haugan (2018-2019) and Professor Lise Øvreås (2019-2021).

For a hectic period of close to four years, the centre presided over events including:

  • the annual Ocean Sustainability Bergen Conference (2019-2021)
  • the first Norwegian university to host an official OceanTeacher Global Academy (OTGA) course on behalf of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC-UNESCO) to coincide with the UN Ocean Decade (2021-2030)
  • a joint SDG14 publication with the International Association of Universities (IAU)
  • numerous official side events at conferences and high-level meetings

Norway was a driving force to establish and implement the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. In the future securing sustainable global governance of the ocean will be ever more important. Through SDG14 – Life below water – the UN has acknowledged the importance of a sustainable ocean. This underlines the importance of the scientific knowledge that broad, comprehensive research universities can offer across disciplines and provide to society and decision-makers worldwide. Through Ocean Sustainability Bergen, the university showed its dedication to provide this knowledge to the global community.

The centre had 3 prioritised areas for its scientific and science diplomacy activity: The Laws of the Ocean, Food from the Ocean, and Sustainable Technology.

THE LAWS OF THE OCEAN

Ocean Sustainability Bergen aims to provide research that deals with the challenges of sharing access and resources of our Ocean.

A thin red line runs from 1609 and the publication of the ground-breaking pamphlet Mare liberum (The Freedom of the Seas) to the present. Today, the freedom extolled in 1609 has given way to more cautionary tales of how this freedom has limits, particularly when it comes to the health of the Ocean. The colonial era freedom that benefitted the few has given way to the idea of global partnerships and a shared understanding of how to beneficially use the Ocean resources that are common to all mankind.

Building on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, one of the key points of debate is Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ), which deals with the challenges of sharing access and resources. As part of Ocean Sustainability Bergen, the University of Bergen (UiB) wants to contribute with research and knowledge to provide decision-makers with science based information to make better decisions for our shared future on these vital issues. Taking in a number of disciplines, this is a truly multidisciplinary effort across several faculties.

FOOD FROM THE OCEAN

Ocean Sustainability Bergen wants to provide research-based knowledge on the future for food from the Ocean.

The health of the Ocean and human health are closely interconnected. Various human activities, pollution and climate change impact the well-being of the Ocean. The Ocean is of vital importance for our access to food and clean air. With the establishment of Ocean Sustainability Bergen, the University of Bergen (UiB) wants to provide research-based knowledge on the future for food from the Ocean as part of our engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

At UiB the research and education on food from the Ocean cuts across disciplines. Building on the position as Norway's premier SDG-oriented university, UiB wants to be at the forefront of how to provide more sustainable food from the Ocean while preserving important ecosystem services such as ocean uptake of CO2, mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY

Ocean Sustainability Bergen aims to become a hub for scientists worldwide to create and implement the sustainable Ocean technology of the future.

Creating new and sustainable Ocean technology to harvest energy and food while reducing impact of human activities is one of the main challenges facing the world. Pollution from land based and marine sources including shipping needs to be drastically reduced over the coming decade. It is crucial that the global community finds solutions to cut emissions, not the least to save our Ocean.

Ocean Sustainability Bergen brings together scientists from the University of Bergen (UiB) and our partners worldwide to help create and implement the Ocean technology of the future. Marine renewable energy can provide electricity and hydrogen to the shipping industry as well as to shore. The initiative aims to support long-term research through close collaboration between prominent research institutions and R&D intensive companies.