Ocean Futures 2030

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.

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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 (UN) 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” is of key relevance, the SDGs on the whole are all closely interlinked and relevant for ocean governance. The “constitution” for the ocean, the UNs 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 UN 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. 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.
Find the event on Facebook here.
Read more about Ocean Sustainability Bergen: https://www.uib.no/en/ocean 

It is now too late to register for meals and refreshments at the conference (but we still have some available seats).


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

11:30-12:00 Registration (entrance from the museum garden) 

12:00-13:00 Welcome lunch and mingling (vegetarian & mixed food)

13:00-13:10 Conference opening: Rector Dag Rune Olsen, University of Bergen (UiB)
13:10-13:30 Ocean Sustainability Bergen (OSB) - Introduction: Professor Lise Øvreås, Director OSB
13:30-13:35 Video greeting from United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI)
13:35-14:15 International association of universities (IAU), global collaboration on SDG14 and the ocean-climate nexus: Professors Lise Øvreås and Edvard Hviding, OSB/SDG Bergen/UiB, and PhD Candidate Ashneel Chandra, University of the South Pacific and Geophysical Institute, UiB

14:15-15:00 Keynote: Ocean Science and Policy – The Bergen Approach. Programme Director, Professor Peter M. Haugan, Institute of Marine Research

15:00-15:20 Coffee/tea & snacks

15:20-16:40 Five 10-minute presentations of current ocean-related research and education (5 minutes Q+A after each presentation)
Moderator: Professor Sigrid Eskeland Schütz, Faculty of Law, UiB

  1. Assistant Professor Emil Tomson Lindfors, Mohn Centre for Innovation and Regional Development, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences: The future of seafood – from farming fish in the sea to culturing fish fillets in bioreactors
  2. Director Richard Sanders, ICOS Ocean Thematic Centre, NORCE: Blue Carbon In Seagrass and Mangrove systems in Belize
  3. PhD Candidates Anoek Meijer and Joren Room, Department of Biological Sciences, UiB: From Global to Local: An active role for the sciences, humanities and law in localizing SDG14 in cultural and environmental heritage sites in Northern Norway (#LoVeSeSDG)
  4. PhD Candidate Knut Knapskog, Faculty of Law, UiB: Sustainable development of deep seabed minerals
  5. Course coordinator and Associate Professor Katja Enberg, Department of Biological Sciences, UiB: Experiences from the first SDG14 course at the University of Bergen

16:40-17:00 Coffee/tea

17:00-17:45 The Annual Ocean Sustainability Bergen Lecture: Towards a sustainable ocean economy. Mr. Vidar Helgesen, Norway's Special Representative for the Ocean 
17:45-18:00 Q+A

18:00-20:00 Light dinner (tapas style, vegetarian & mixed food) and mingling

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

08:30-09:00 Registration (entrance from the museum garden) 

09:00-09:45 Keynote: Law of the sea at the UN – contemporary processes and Norwegian priorities. Mr. Andreas Kravik, Deputy Director, Legal Affairs Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway
09:45-10:00 Q+A

10:00-11:00 Three 15 minutes presentations on BBNJ-related research (5 minutes Q+A after each presentation)
Moderator: Professor Anders Goksøyr, Department of Biological Sciences, UiB

  1. Elizabeth Nyman, Maritime Studies Programme Coordinator and Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, USA: The world negotiations in marine biodiversity treaty
  2. Sarah Ryan Enright, PhD Candidate, Department of Law and Centre for Marine and Renewable Energy, University College Cork, Ireland: Marine Protected Areas in the High Seas – the role of Regional Ocean Governance in achieving SDG14
  3. Edvard Hviding, Professor, Department of Social Anthropology, UiB: From the (Ocean) Floor: Doing BBNJ Negotiations with Pacific Big Ocean States

11:00-11:20 Coffee/tea & snacks

11:20-12:40 Moderated panel on maritime governance, marine genetic resources, ocean and climate
Moderator: Professor Edvard Hviding, Department of Social Anthropology, UiB


  • Sigrid Eskeland Schütz, Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Bergen, Norway
  • Kjersti Lie Gabrielsen, Chief scientist, Marbank, Institute of Marine Research, Troms
  • Elizabeth Nyman, Maritime Studies Programme Coordinator and Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, USA
  • Cristina Voigt, Professor, Department of Public and International Law, University of Oslo, Norway

12:40-12:45 Closing of Conference

12:45-13:45 Lunch and mingling (vegetarian & mixed food)