SDG Bergen

Solutions for coastal communities post COVID

Is investing in coastal and marine ecosystem restoration and protection the way to stimulate the blue economy post COVID-19? This was one of the questions in a special parallel session on coastal communities at the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen.

Amund Maage (right) and Giulia Testa speaking at a session during the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen.
GIVING ADVICE TO POLICY MAKERS: Marine Director Amund Maage (right) and student Giulia Testa presenting policy input based on science from two of the six parallel sessions at the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen.
Paul S. Amundsen for the University of Bergen

Main content

Organised by Professor Lise Øvreås the parallel session led to three policy recommendations presented in a special session bringing together scientific advice for policy makers at the close of Day 1 of the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen.

Ocean science after the pandemic

“The ocean has a wellspring of solutions to build back better. Ocean science will play an important role in the post pandemic recovery. One way can be investing in coastal and marine ecosystems,” said Professor Lise Øvreås, who is also Scientific Director of Ocean Sustainability Bergen at the University of Bergen.

The panel consisted of researchers and ocean professionals from around the world and was moderated by Professor Ragnhild Overå from the University of Bergen. Broadcast from Grieghallen in the heart of Bergen with the panellists present virtually via video.

The time is right for multilateralism

“Ocean communities should be included in post pandemic recovery plans. Coming at a time of resurgent nationalism, this is the time to stress multilateralism. Countries must harmonize work on global ocean governance,” said Professor John Kurien from the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru, India, making an explicit reference to UN Decade for Ocean Science.

He also represented the World Fish Centre in Penang, Malaysia, with which researchers from the University of Bergen and Norway’s Institute of Marine Research have long scientific collaborations with.

Others in the panel, such as the Executive Director of the European Marine Board, Professor Sheila Heymans, and Professor Ratana Chuenpagdee from the Memorial University in Newfoundland echoed Kurien, including an important message pointing to small-scale fisheries as “solutions” for ocean sustainability.

Concluding parallel session 6

So, how does inequality post COVID-19 affect coastal communities? One of the aims from the six special parallel sessions at the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen was to make recommendations for policy makers.

Marine Director Amund Maage from the University of Bergen was tasked with summing up the findings of the coastal communities session and take this forward to a plenary session bringing together recommendations from across the parallel sessions.