Ocean Sustainability Bergen

SDG14 – Life Below Water: Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Ocean

The First Ocean Sustainability Bergen Conference will be at the University Aula of Bergen 21-22 October 2019.


2019 Ocean Sustainability Bergen Conference
Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 October
University Aula of Bergen

The ocean supplies vital ecosystem services to a burgeoning world population. Globally, the ocean is exposed to multiple stressors, but retains potential for supplying more food, energy, transportation, and crucial genetic resources. Controversies and conflicts of interest are abundant, as exemplified by the discrepant views of a freedom of the high seas and the preservation of a common heritage of humankind.

The United Nations 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) add direction and create impetus for the conservation and sustainable use of the ocean. While SDG 14 “Life Below Water” of key relevance, the SDGs on the whole are all closely interlinked and relevant for ocean governance. The “constitution” for the ocean, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is a comprehensive framework for global legal ocean governance. From 2018, a major event in the history of UNCLOS is the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) to negotiate a legally binding instrument under the UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine Biological diversity in areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). The IGC follows years of preparatory work and is expected to continue until 2020. The IGC comes at a time of increased focus on environmental, economic and social sustainability of the planet as a whole, facing stark realities of climate crisis and biodiversity loss.

The 2030 Agenda creates opportunities and options for juxtapositions and interconnections that are so far not fully utilized in public debates on the SDGs. At this first Ocean Sustainability Bergen Conference, we want to discuss inherent inconsistencies in the 2030 Agenda, in order to create a better platform for providing scientific advice towards creating a truly global system for conservation and sustainable use of the ocean. Over two days, the conference will address these challenges for scientifically informed ocean governance in general terms as well as with specific reference to the ongoing BBNJ negotiations.

We ask:

  • Is the combination of conservation and sustainable use of the ocean an illusion or a realistic possibility?
  • How can science be used to underpin the development of a useful instrument for BBNJ?
  • In more general terms, how can scientific advice contribute to decision-making processes in global ocean governance?

Our objectives:

  • To create awareness in a wide range of academic disciplines of current challenges for global ocean governance and to inspire their increased involvement.
  • To provide an arena for exchange of science and policy ideas directly relevant to the intergovernmental negotiations on marine BBNJ.
  • To discuss how a BBNJ instrument can contribute to the 2030 Agenda.

The conference language is English.

Read more about Ocean Sustainability Bergen: https://www.uib.no/en/ocean



DAY 1: 21 October / Science-Policy Nexus for a Sustainable Ocean

12:00-13:00 Welcome lunch and mingling
13:00-13:15 Conference opening: Rector Dag Rune Olsen, University of Bergen (UiB)
13:15-13-45 Ocean Sustainability Bergen (Introduction): Professor Lise Øvreås, Director OSB
13:45-14:00 Video greeting from United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)
14:00-14:30 IAU Global SDG14 collaboration: Representative of the University of the West Indies
14:30-15:15 KEYNOTE: Ocean Science and Policy – The Bergen Approach. Programme Director Peter M. Haugan, Institute of Marine Research
15:15-15:45 Break
15:45-16:45 Five 10-minute presentations of current ocean-related research and education
16:45-17:00 Plenary discussion
17:00-18:00 The Annual OCEAN SUSTAINABILITY BERGEN LECTURE: Mr. Vidar Helgesen, Norway's Special Representative for the Ocean (followed by moderated Q+A)
19:00-22:00 Conference Dinner

DAY 2: 22 October / BBNJ – Frontline for the High Seas

09:00-10:00 KEYNOTE: The BBNJ Process and Norway. Mr. Andreas Kravik, Deputy Director, Legal Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway (followed by moderated Q+A) (TBC)
10:00-11:00 3 lectures on BBNJ-related research (speakers TBA)
11:00-12:30 Moderated Panel: Ocean Research, Law of the Sea, Ocean Governance, Marine Genetic Resources, Ocean and Climate. Panellists TBA; from university, government and industry sectors.
12:30-12:45 Closing of Conference
13:00-14:00 Lunch