First meeting for ocean sustainability cluster
In November 2018 the University of Bergen was officially announced as the leader of the SDG14 Cluster for the International Association of Universities (IAU). In November 2019 the IAU SDG14 Cluster met for the first time – at least virtually.
Best practices, sharing of data and inspiring other universities was part of the discussion in the first IAU SDG14 Cluster meeting, which took place virtually on 20 November 2019. Almost to the day one year after the University of Bergen (UiB) officially was given the leadership role for the International Association of Universities (IAU) and its SDG 14 cluster.
A first successful meeting
“It was great to finally get started and to have a first successful meeting to define our shared interests and set some mutual goals,” says Professor Live Øvreås, who is Scientific Director for Ocean Sustainability Bergen (OSB), which takes care of the administrative and scientific activities connected with the IAU SDG14 Cluster on behalf of the University of Bergen.
The IAU SDG14 Cluster discussed how to promote ocean research and education associated with Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life below water) to the wider university community.
“All the institutions participating in the first virtual meeting, gave short presentations about their ocean-related activities, with a particular focus on sustainable development. There was also a round on what each and every institutions was expecting to attain from this collaboration and what we can achieve together,” says Øvreås.
Secretary General for IAU, Dr. Hilligje van't Land, greeted the first IAU SDG14 meeting with enthusiasm.
“The IAU Global Cluster on Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development (HESD) is a unique endeavour bringing together universities from all over the world to jointly tackle the global challenges identified in the 2030 Agenda. They do that in different ways around the globe yet always looking at developing transformative teaching methods and innovative transdisciplinary research projects. We, at the IAU are proud to have University of Bergen take on the lead on SDG14: Life below water,“ said van't Land in a comment.
Taking inspiration from unique SDG14 course
As the host for the IAU SDG14 Cluster, the University of Bergen has long been taking a lead on ocean science and education. One of the many initiatives at the university is a unique interdisciplinary course on SDG14, coordinated by ocean scientist Dr. Katja Enberg.
“The University of Bergen developed a unique course on SDG14 focusing in particular on Ocean Sustainability. It brings together students with different personal and academic backgrounds thus fostering interdisciplinary approaches. The course is built on the basis of creative and innovative knowledge acquisition processes. The active learning technics applied in the classroom engages the students in a way that will allow them to apply the knowledge acquired in their future life as citizens and employees or employers,” said van't Land.
“For the University of Bergen this course is but one example of what we aim to do in the years to come,“ says Lise Øvreås, “and we are hoping that the full IAU SDG14 Cluster will contribute to more such examples of best practice in education and research in the years to come. We are looking forward to lead this group as we stand at the starting point of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science, where we as ocean-research intensive institutions have important impact and a lot to contribute.”