SDG Conference in Bergen
2021 SDG Conference Bergen

Day 2: Friday 12 February

This is the programme for Day 2 of the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen – Friday 12 February.

Main content

A chat function will be provided for both Q&A to speakers/panellists and between conference participants.

  • Conference moderator is Associate Professor Sofie Høgestøl from the University of Oslo.

Official hashtag for the conference is #SDGbergen21

Opening of digital conference platform from 08:30

OPENING ADDRESS (09:00-09:30)

Progress Through Science: The Pivotal Role of Youth in the Decade of Action

Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, United Nations Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth

In this opening session of Conference Day 2, we welcome the UN SG's Envoy on Youth. The theme of the interview will be the pivotal role science and innovation driven by young scientists play in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. More details TBA.

Interviewed by student Hibaq Mohamed from the Faculty of Law at the University of Bergen.

KEYNOTE LECTURE 2 (09:30-10:30)

Keynote lecture 2: Public engagement, scientific literacy and the science-society nexus                                   

  • Dr. Daya Reddy, President of the International Science Council and Professor at the University of Cape Town

The spectrum of inequalities constitutes a major obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This has been further exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In this context the scientific community faces challenges both in relation to their scientific work and at the interfaces with society and policy. The successful pursuit of integrated approaches to the SDGs and to the goals of robust and equitable post-pandemic recovery and resilience require mitigation of inequalities in access to knowledge and participation, and effective routes to public engagement. The presentation addresses these challenges as key components of scientific responsibility.


  • Dr. Andy Stirling, Professor of Science and Technology Policy, University of Sussex 
  • Dr. Zora Kovacic, Postdoctoral fellow, University of Bergen

Break / mingling opportunity (10:30-10:45)

An opportunity to catch up with other conference participants or to visit the special SDG poster session.

KEYNOTE LECTURE 3 (10:45-11:45)

Keynote lecture 3: Urban Pathways to SDG Success

  • Dr. Edgar Pieterse, Director of the African Centre for Cities and Professor at the University of Cape Town

The success or failure of the 2030 Agenda will depend on the ability of governments and supra-national regions to recognise that sustainable urbanism lives at the intersection of most SDGs. The talk will substantiate this claim by analysing the institutional and spatial inter-dependencies between the SDGs and make a case for accelerating city-level innovation systems that can serve as living laboratories to figure out new modalities of infrastructure provision (at the nexus of circular, social and platform economic principles), land-use, citizen empowerment and intelligent regulation. Examples will be drawn from regions with the most pressing urbanisation pressures because we need international cooperation and solidarity where the challenges are most acute, and solutions most urgent.


  • Dr. Aromar Revi, Director for the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) and Co-Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
  • Ms. Astrid Haas, Policy Director, International Growth Centre
  • Ms. Mrudhula Koshy, PhD Candidate, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Break / mingling opportunity (11:45-12:00)

An opportunity to catch up with other conference participants or to visit the special SDG poster session.

THE RECTOR DEBATE (12:00-13:00)

The Rector Debate: How are universities mitigating inequalities in access to knowledge?

As always, the rectors at the Norwegian universities behind the SDG Conference Bergen will close the conference by discussing the role of research and higher education for the SDGs. Last year the rectors discussed the report “Sharing of best practice for the SDGs” and outlined ambitious goals for educational reforms. How far has this work come? What has been achieved?

This year’s conference has discussed the need to work systematically with the science to society nexus and need for universities to work much more rigorously in communication of science. As keynote speaker of the SDG Conference Bergen 2021, Professor Daya Reddy, states, equitable access to scientific knowledge is central to achieving developmental objectives in a fully participatory manner. How are universities mitigating inequalities in access to knowledge nationally and globally?


13:00-13:10   Closing remarks / End of Conference

Closing remarks by Professor Bjørn Enge Bertelsen, leader of the Programme Committee for the 2021 SDG Conference Bergen and Director of The Global Research Programme on Inequality, and Vice-Rector for Global Relations at the University of Bergen, Professor Annelin Eriksen.