SDG Bergen
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

UNESCO Global Independent Expert Group

UNESCO has partnered with the University of Bergen to establish the Global Independent Expert Group on the Universities and the 2030 Agenda (EGU2030).

The front of the UNESCO building in Paris
The UNESCO headquarters "World Heritage Centre" at Place de Fontenoy in Paris, France.
Matthias Ripp/Wikimedia Commons

Main content

The 2030 Agenda calls for social, economic and political transformations. To this end, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were introduced by the UN General Assembly in 2015, providing targets to achieve these transformations.

In highlighting not only SDG 4 on quality education but also the cross-cutting nature across all SDGs, universities are regarded as key actors in achieving the 17 goals set out by this agenda.

This poses a number of questions:

  • How can universities contribute to achieving the SDGs?
  • What kind of knowledge is needed?
  • Whose knowledge is needed?
  • Are universities asking the right questions and are they sufficiently equipped to answer them?

To answer these questions, UNESCO partnered with the University of Bergen as a part of the National Committee for the 2030 Agenda in Norway's university sector (SDG Norway) to establish the Global Independent Expert Group on the Universities and the 2030 Agenda (EGU2030).

This group has worked to produce a report that addresses these questions through three succinct analytical lenses:

  • The role of inter- and transdisciplinarity for curriculum development and research programs, emphasizing especially the relationship between the humanities and the social sciences on the one hand and the natural sciences on the other (“radical interdisciplinarity”). 
  • How to build on and promote knowledge that comprises a diverse range of traditions, institutions and epistemologies to promote a truly global knowledge-base for the SDGs.
  • How to strengthen the role of universities as partners with private, public and civil society actors in the work with the SDGs.

The aims were to move beyond merely claiming more overarching curricula, an increase in collaboration in research, and intensified partnerships beyond academia. Much rather, the EGU2030 project has addressed the challenges and barriers associated with each of these sub-themes.

The finished report, which you can read here, was presented during Day Zero of the SDG Bergen Conference 2022 during the panel Knowledge-Driven Actions: Transforming Higher Education for Global Sustainability.