SDG Bergen

Leading SDG role for ocean scientist

Earlier this autumn Peter M. Haugan was appointed member of the expert group for the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy. He is now preparing to attend the first meeting - in his hometown Bergen.

Professor Peter M. Haugan at the SDG Conference Bergen in February 2018, chairing a special event on SDG14.
OCEAN EXPERT: Professor Peter M. Haugan is co-chair of the expert group for a sustainable ocean economy that meets in Bergen in November 2018 for the first time. Here he is at the SDG Conference Bergen in February 2018, chairing a special event on SDG14.
Eivind Senneset for the University of Bergen

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On Monday 19 November, the expert group for the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy, started by Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, will meet for its first meeting – in Bergen.

One of the co-chairs of the group is Professor Peter M. Haugan from the University of Bergen and Institute of Marine Research, who for the past three and a half years has also been the Chair of UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Committee (IOC). He also is scientific director for Ocean Sustainability Bergen, a UiB strategic initiative as part of the sustainability-focus at the university.

“We are tasked to collect and synthesize knowledge relevant to developing a sustainable ocean economy and do it in a way which can form the basis for recommendations from the 12 heads of state. Now we start this work,” says Haugan about what he expects from this first meeting.

Professor Haugan has long been active in the science-policy interface and believes that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an excellent opportunity for the university sector to get engaged by providing scientific advice to provide decision-makers with research-based knowledge.

“Both through my own work with IOC but also UiB's participation in various UN forums and conferences, we have shown the way forward for other universities when it comes to taking direct part in underpinning decision-making. To be able to be in the UN General Assembly and give research-based input to policy, such as UiB did last July at the high-level political forum is an amazing opportunity to bring knowledge to the implementation of the SDGs,” he says about how academia can contribute towards informed decisions.

UiB was recently announced as Hub organisation for SDG14, Life Below Water, for both United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and the International Association of Universities (IAU).

“First of all this is a tremendous honour and shows the strength of our ocean research. But it is also interesting that we have been chosen by a top-down organisation such as UNAI and by a bottom-up organisation such as IAU for the same role to be global leaders in academia for a sustainable Ocean. This also shows how we are picking up signals from our own students to create future SDG-oriented studies, but also that we are being listened to in high-level forums,” says Professor Peter M. Haugan.