Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN 2015)
The UNESCO Chair focuses on sustainable development and management of natural and cultural heritage in education and research.
The UNESCO Chair Network is large, including over 700 institutions in 116 countries, and part of UNESCO's international network UNITWIN, including close to 800 Chairs at universities across the world, distributed on a wide range of topics. UiB's Chair is organized under UNESCO's Natural Sciences Section and today, 170 of the University Chairs included in the UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs programme are related to Natural Sciences.
Focus on biosphere areas - UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere programme
UNESCO's biosphere programme "Man and the Biosphere" is central to the work of the UNESCO Chair at UiB. The mission of the MAB programme is to help the Member States achieve the sustainable development goals (Agenda 2030) by actively using the biosphere areas as 'Science for Sustainability Support Sites' - biosphere areas are model areas for sustainable development. Norway was appointed its very first biosphere area on June 19th 2019 - Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere.
Our Chair, held by Dr. Inger Elisabeth Måren, is under the Natural Sciences Section at UNESCO and has been prepared based on the experiences of several major interdisciplinary projects carried out at UiB and the preparatory work on the first UNESCO Biosphere Area in Norway - Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere. The Chair works particularly on pertinent aspects of sustainable development in the context of SDG15 - Life on Land, where sustainable land use is a central theme. She teaches several of the sustainable development related courses (SDG110, SDG215 and SDG214) at UiB.
Background for the UNESCO Chair at UiB
The University of Bergen was awarded a UNESCO Chair entitled Sustainable Heritage and Environmental Management - Nature and Culture, in 2015. The UNESCO Chair is part of UNESCO's international network UNITWIN, which includes close to 800 Chairs at 700 institutions in 116 countries, covering universities across the world and a wide range of topics.
Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. In areas lacking expertise, chairs and networks also contribute to strengthening North-South-South cooperation.
After several years of planning, UiB was awarded a UNESCO Chair. The application to the UNESCO Commission was based on the experience of several major interdisciplinary projects carried out by UiB and partners in the Nordhordland region and the preparatory work on the first biosphere area in Norway - the Nordhordland Biosphere Area.
The application was designed with inspiration from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, which has had a UNESCO chair for a number of years. The framework of the Chair was presented at the International UNESCO Conference held in Bergen in 2014. In Norway, we received our first UNESCO Chair for Education on Sustainable Lifestyles, held by Victoria Thoresen, at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in 2014.