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SDG Norway – Research and Higher Education
National initiative

Sharing best practices

Based on a proposal from University of Bergen the national committee discussed how the sector could develop stronger commitments to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. It was agreed that the tool should be a common platform for knowledge sharing of ideas and best practices in line with the values and goals of the 2030 Agenda.

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Identifying the challenge

The 2030 Agenda calls for a new development paradigm where people, planet and prosperity are promoted by peace and partnership (the five Ps). After 40 years of debate, the issue of human development and the debate on the environment have merged. New values presented by Agenda 2030 about human/nature interlinkages represent the overarching challenge to the universities: How do we transform disciplines in line with our new understanding of the relation between nature and the human? Multidisciplinary coordination, new disciplines crosscutting human/science divides, new ways of building up courses and collegial cooperation are examples of the changes needed.  

At the final session of the SDG Conference 2019, a statement was presented by the rectors of the five universities represented in the panel:  

How should universities work with the goals? Last year we established the National Committee for cooperation with Agenda 2030 in the Norwegian university sector. This year we want to take this initiative one step further by creating a platform for sharing of best practice in the universities work with the SDGs, with a particular focus on education.

 

Identifying the next steps

The national committee for Agenda 2030 in the university sector will appoint a working group for the “national platform”-project. The working group will report to the national committee at every meeting until the SDG Conference 2020.

The central focus of the working group will be to:

  1. Identify a research- and education- relevant understanding of sustainable development, where focus on the interconnectedness between the goals is paramount. This will be a qualitative statement about the dimensions that need to be present in an understanding of sustainable development in the university sector, such as: pedagogical aspects, knowledge-base, curriculum development, connection between research and education, openness between discipline
  2. Develop perspectives and suggestions on the knowledge-ethics connections necessary to achieve a transformative shift.
  3. Reflect on the hindrances for an SDG-oriented transformation of higher education at universities, and how we might promote such a change.
  4. Build a digital platform for dialogue, for presentation of best practices, and the promotion of ideas for SDG-relevant teaching and disciplinary organization. The platform will be used to interact with actors in the sector, particularly those who already are engaged in SDG-relevant changes.

The working group is expected to be in dialogue with actors already engaged in this kind of work at different levels, nationally and internationally, like Unesco.