Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (UN 2015)
The UNESCO Chair on Sustainable Heritage and Environmental Management - Nature and Culture - shall promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on sustainable heritage and environmental management, with a special focus on Norway's very first Biosphere Area - Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere - under UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB).
Our Chair, held by Dr. Inger Elisabeth Måren, focuses on the dynamics in coupled human and natural systems, including sustainable development, natural resource management, agro-biodiversity, sustainable land use, ecosystem services, agroecology, and food security. She works with colleagues across the social and natural sciences to elucidate links between anthropogenic activities and the environment, in Europe, as well as in Asia, North-America and Africa. She seeks to connect multifaceted knowledge within ecology and associated disciplines to investigate social-ecological complexities. In particular, she researches pertinent aspects of sustainable development in the context of SDG15 - Life on Land - where sustainable land use is a central theme. She has been part of developing and teaching several of the sustainable development related courses at the University of Bergen (e.g. SDG110, SDG215 and SDG214).
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 included in the UNESCO/UNITWIN Chairs programme, 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.
The application to the UNESCO Commission for our UNESCO Chair was 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 application was designed with inspiration from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, which has had a UNESCO Chair for a number of years, and the framework of the Chair was presented at the International UNESCO Conference held in Bergen in 2014. In Norway, we received our very first UNESCO Chair for Education on Sustainable Lifestyles, held by Victoria Thoresen, at the Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in 2014.
UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere programme (MAB) 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 being model areas for sustainable development. Norway was appointed its very first biosphere area on June 19th 2019 - Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere.