SDG Conference in Bergen

2019 SDG Conference programme

The programme for the 2019 SDG Conference Bergen: Thursday 7 and Friday 8 February.

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For enquiries on the SDG Conference Bergen, please contact the Conference Secretariat.

See the programme for Day Zero on 6 February, a pre-conference day of workshops and other events.

Day One: Thursday 7 February

09:00-09:30  Registration and coffee

09:30-10:00  Conference Opening

Dr. Dag Rune Olsen, Rector of the University of Bergen
Ms. Rebekka Borsch, State Secretary to the Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education
Mr. Håkon Randgaard Mikalsen, National Union of Students in Norway

10:00-12.30  Session 1 – re:thinking I // Education and Global Inequality

The global knowledge society is highly unequal. The resources for renewing our common knowledge base is concentrated among the few. Every university, and the universities within cross national networks must themselves work to reduce this inequality. A broadening of the student access, the distribution of resources, the opportunity for research, space for critical thinking and participation in the international communities of academics are steps towards knowledge equality. As argued by one of the speakers at the first conference on the SDGs: "It is important that your own institution lives the goals!”

“Living the goals” legitimizes the critical role of universities. When the goals were agreed on, they were justified by the need for a “formative shift” of our development path. But this re:thinking of the path of development also needs a re:thinking of how and what knowledge is needed for such a shift and how to make it relevant.

This session will have a particular focus on SDG4 (Quality Education) and SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities).

Moderator: Dr. Oddrun Samdal, Vice-Rector for Education, University of Bergen

10:00-10:10 Moderator introduces day 1 agenda and keynote speaker

10:10-10:30 Keynote: Dr. Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education, UNESCO

10:30-10:50 Coffee and tea break

10:50-10:55 Student video I

10:55-11:00 Moderator  introduces panel

11:00-12:30 Panellists:
Ms. Beathe Øgård, Norwegian Students´and Academics´International Assistance Fund
Dr. Susanne Koch, Technical University of Munich
Dr. Stefan Skupien, Berlin Social Science Centre
Dr. Pam Fredman, International Association of Universities

Plenary panel discussion

Keynote speakers respond and moderator concludes

12:30-13:30 Lunch

13:30-16:30 Session 2 – re:thinking II // Climate Action and Economic Growth

This session will address issues related to alternative pathways towards a sustainable future.

Climate concerns have led to a strong focus on energy transition from fossil to renewable energy. The goals in the Paris agreement and the recent reports from IPCC on global warming call for massive effort to save the planet. It is evident that the climate challenge is urgent, but how much time do we have before we have reached the point of no return?

A rapid transition to an energy system based on renewable energy is an important part of the necessary climate actions. Has the strong focus on renewable energy as the major climate action made people think that it can be business as usual as long as the energy supply is clean?

Green growth and degrowth deal with the way the world’s economic system works. Is it possible to have economic growth together with a sustainable use of natural resources?

Economic growth is associated with increased consumption. Will rebound effects and continued economic growth lead to destruction of the environment?  Is green growth possible, or do we need to make radical changes to our economic system to make our societies sustainable?

The challenge is to meet the needs of all within the means of the planet and to ensure that no one falls short on life’s essentials.

Moderator: Dr. Kristin Guldbrandsen Frøysa, University of Bergen

13:30-13:35 Moderator introduces keynote speaker 1

13:35-13:55 Keynote: Dr. Jason Hickel, Goldsmiths University of London

13:55-14:00 Moderator introduces keynote speaker 2

14:00-14:20 Keynote: Dr. Tore Furevik, Director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, University of Bergen

14:20-14:40 Coffee and tea break

14:40-14:45 Student video II

14:45-14:50 Moderator introduces panel

14:50-16:30 Panellists:
Dr. Rana Adib, Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21)
Ms. Anja L. Molnes, University of Bergen
Ms. Ebba Boye, Rethinking Economics Norge
Dr. Martin Visbeck, GEOMAR – Helmholz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

Plenary panel discussion

Keynote speakers respond and moderator concludes

19:00-23:00 Conference dinner (Grand Selskapslokaler)


Day Two: Friday 8 February

09:00-11:45 Session 3 – re:working // Knowledge for Partnerships

The first two sessions at the 2019 SDG Conference Bergen will show the in-built and unresolved problems in the 2030 Agenda. These problems set the stage for the third session of the conference – re:working. How can we find avenues for knowledge that highlight the more uncomfortable, and even risky and unsettling issues, in order to work in a meaningful way with Agenda 2030? What kind of research do we need, in which areas and how can this knowledge be transmitted to the field of policy? As Katherine Richardson stated in her opening address at the 2018 SDG Conference Bergen: “The SDGs are NOT only about solutions.” This is an important recognition because it opens and widens the field of knowledge that is relevant for the SDGs. What kind of knowledge do we need if the SDGs are not only about solutions, but also about asking the right kind of questions?

Moderator: Dr. Annelin Eriksen, Vice-Rector for Global Relations, University of Bergen

09:00-09:10 Moderator introduces day 2 agenda and keynote speaker 1

09:10-09:30 Keynote: Dr. Katherine Richardson, University of Copenhagen

09:30–09:35 Moderator introduces keynote speaker 2

09:35-09:55 Keynote: Mr. Silvio Funtowicz, University of Bergen

09:55-10:15 Coffee and tea break

10:15-10:20 Student video III

10:20-10:25 Moderator introduces panel

10:25 -11:45 Panellists:
Dr. Sidsel Roalkvam, University of Oslo
Mr. Svein Bæra, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Dr. Shantanu Mukherjee, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Mr. Thor Olav Iversen, University of Bergen
Dr. Thierry Courvoisier, European Academies Science Advisory Council
Mr. Fridtjof Fossum Unander, Research Council of Norway

Plenary panel discussion.

Keynote speakers respond and moderator concludes.

11:45-12:45 Lunch

12:45-14:30 Session 4 – re:working // 2030 Agenda: Global Governance and the universities

The questions raised in this session are:

  • What kind of global partnership and global governance is needed in the post-2015 SDG era?
  • How can universities and university networks contribute to the strengthening the global partnerships called for in the 2030 Agenda?

The 2030 Agenda is a success story for the UN multilateral system. Based on significant contributions from several hundred experts a compromise was concretized in a number of sub-goals and targets (169) asking for more and tighter interchange between knowledge and politics.

At the same time, the UN multilateral system is under pressure. Bilateral interactions, regional networks and a multitude of alternative global initiatives, funds and agreements emerge outside the UN umbrella. We observe that the global knowledge community is being split by regionalization, bilateral priorities, and national strategic interests. Authority and legitimacy of the multilateral system is weakened despite the unique agreement on the 17 Goals.

As argued by OECD in their report on Policy Coherence for Sustainable Development (OECD 2018:3), we see a growing “unfair globalization and the erosion of trust in the multilateral system”. If we want to strengthen the global governance of the multilateral system for the sake of fair globalization in line with the UN Agenda 2030, what should then be the role of higher education and research?

Moderator: Mr. Dankert Vedeler, former co-chair of the global SDG Education 2030 Steering Committee and Director in the Ministry of Education and Research

12:45- 12:50 Moderator introduces keynote

12:50- 13:10 Keynote: Dr. Michael Zürn, Berlin Social Science Centre

13:10-13:15 Moderator introduces keynote speaker 2

13:15-14:15 Panellists:
Rector Dag Rune Olsen, University of Bergen
Rector Gunnar Bovim, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Pro-Rector Gro Bjørnerud Mo, University of Oslo
Rector Anne Husebekk, UiT/The Arctic University of Norway
Rector Mari Sundli Tveit, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Panel discussion

Closing remarks
14:15–14:30 Mr. Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, Government of Norway