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MATURING SDG14 TARGETS

Urging political leaders into action

Four SDG14 targets are maturing in 2020 and with the University of Bergen's leadership in ocean science and sustainability, the university will take these targets to decision-makers over the course of the upcoming year.

Scientific Director Lise Øvreås from Ocean Sustainability Bergen and Marine Director Nils Gunnar Kvamstø at the University of Bergen, photographed in January 2020.
SHOWING OCEAN SCIENCE LEADERSHIP: With four SDG14 targets “maturing” in 2020, Scientific Director Lise Øvreås from Ocean Sustainability Bergen and Marine Director Nils Gunnar Kvamstø at the University of Bergen will be pushing political leaders into action for a sustainable ocean.
Photo:
Sverre Ole Drønen, University of Bergen

“We need science-based action now to ensure that the ambitious goals set for the ocean in the 2030 Agenda are reached. We challenge our political leaders to action based on science,” say Scientific Director Lise Øvreås of Ocean Sustainability Bergen and Marine Director Nils Gunnar Kvamstø at the University of Bergen.

Urgent call for ocean action

With the UN Ocean Science Decade about to kick off in 2021 and four targets for Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14, Life below water) “maturing” in 2020, researchers at the University of Bergen are ready to supply scientific advice to decision-makers.

“These targets are very concrete. Scientists must be even more active in 2020 to provide the necessary knowledge to aid the implementation of SDG14 targets as set out in the 2030 Agenda,” say the two ocean science leaders at the University of Bergen, “the ocean cannot wait for the solutions of the future.”

Øvreås and Kvamstø are spearheading the University of Bergen's ocean science and SDG14 activities, identifying the science to provide decision-makers, both nationally and internationally, in the implementation of the four SDG14 targets maturing this year.

Local knowledge for global solutions

The university is already active in co-arranging side events at major conference and is planning new measures to aid its scientists – including the SDG Bergen Policy Brief.

“The university has ocean science as one of its three priority areas and with the second UN Ocean Conference coming up in Lisbon in June, we plan side events both there and at other major conferences,” says Kvamstø, “ and with the launch of the SDG Bergen Policy Brief, where ocean science and SDG14 will be a priority this year, we aim to provide decision-makers with up to date knowledge in ocean science.”

The two also want to see the university use its local and regional research partners in this effort.

“The University of Bergen was the first partner to sign on to local tall ship Statraad Lehmkuhl's planned 2021-2023 circumnavigation of Earth, One Ocean,” says Øvreås, who is involved in planning the on-board study programme for One Ocean, which will see 90-100 students take part in a unique four-month course as part of the circumnavigation's Pacific leg.

“We also want to use this opportunity to work closely with the other academic and research institutions in Bergen and its hinterland, to show the strong, long-standing traditions in ocean science in this region,” adds Kvamstø, “we are providing local knowledge for global solutions.”

He points to the successful side event at the July 2019 High-level Political Forum (HLPF), where local wisdom combined with the global language of science. The event was co-hosted by the University of Bergen and four missions to the UN: Norway, Fiji, St. Lucia and Palau.

“In our work this year, we are building on our previous efforts and the launch of the SDG Bergen Policy Brief, is a direct response to the sdialogue we have had with our global partners, diplomats, government officials and other SDG-oriented partners,” says Øvreås.

Maturing targets in 2020

The four maturing SDG14 targets in 2020 are: conservation of 10 per cent of coastal/marine areas; removal of harmful fisheries subsidies; restoration, strengthening and better management of marine ecosystems; and ending of IUU and harmful fishing practices. (Also see FACTS.)

“The Sustainable Fisheries Group is one example of cutting-edge research engaging with target 14.6, which deals with the removal of harmful fisheries subsidies. This is one of the most urgent issues of the day and one that the world's countries need to unite on. We have the science and local knowledge to move on this,” says Øvreås, who leads the University of Bergen's SDG14 commitments for both the International Association of Universities (IAU) and United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).

“The university's Physical Oceanography group provides research to understand, describe and quantify the physical processes that control ocean circulation and mixing,” says Kvamstø, “which goes directly into target 14.2 on the restoration, strengthening and better management of marine ecosystems.”

Øvreås also points to the Nordhordland area north of Bergen, where Norway's first biosphere reserve has been established in UNESCO's Man and Biosphere programme. This status was achieved through decades of work from both the local community and researchers at the university, showing how science works directly with local knowledge on issues related to target 14.5.

Best practice for the ocean

Øvreås and Kvamstø also want to use this opportunity to provide examples of best practice in academia, both from the University of Bergen and its global partners. Not the least through the IAU SDG14 Team, which aims to set a new standard for ocean research and education in relation to the 2030 Agenda.

“Consisting of ten leading ocean research institutions, the IAU SDG14 Team partners can provide a blueprint for best practice in sustainable ocean science,” says Øvreås about how this can be achieved, “not the least we hope to make this a valuable contribution the UN's Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development which commences in 2021.”

With the UN Ocean Science Decade about to kick off in 2021 and four targets for Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14, Life below water) “maturing” in 2020, researchers at the University of Bergen are ready to supply scientific advice to decision-makers.

“These targets are very concrete. Scientists must be even more active in 2020 to provide the necessary knowledge to aid the implementation of SDG14 targets as set out in the 2030 Agenda,” say the two ocean science leaders at the University of Bergen, “the ocean cannot wait for the solutions of the future.”

Øvreås and Kvamstø are spearheading the University of Bergen's ocean science and SDG14 activities, identifying the science to provide decision-makers, both nationally and internationally, in the implementation of the four SDG14 targets maturing this year.