UNESCO Chair: Sustainable heritage and environmental management

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Portrait of Inger Måren standing besides the UNESCO nameplate

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 is held by Dr. Inger Elisabeth Måren. She focuses on the dynamics in coupled human and natural systems, so-called social-ecological systems, including themes like sustainable resource management, sustainable land use, ecosystem services, agroecology, and sustainable food systems. She works with colleagues across the social and natural sciences to elucidate links between anthropogenic activities and the environment, in Europe, Asia, North-America and Africa. 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. Måren also develops and teaches several of the sustainable development related courses at the University of Bergen (e.g., SDG110, SDG215SDG214, SDG207 and SDG607) and she is member of the Sustainability Collegium at UiB as well as the Norwegian UNESCO Commission.

Screenshot showing participants of the digital meeting

First Nordic UNESCO Chair Meeting

November 17 2022 the first ever Nordic UNESCO Chair meeting was held. 11 chairholders met over Teams, representing four different countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland.

Visiting Vattenriket
Overview photo of Kristianstad vattenrike. Partly flooded wetlands. Water with water lilly leaves in the front, surorunded by wetlands with overgrown with sedges and willow. City of Kristianstad in the background.

Visiting Vattenriket BR in Southern Sweden

The BIOSPHERE project aims to strengthen social-ecological resilience in peri-urban and rural Norway, and in this project members of the UNESCO Chair group at UiB work together with partners from Nordhordland Biosphere Reserve and Alver municipality. The partners recently visited Kristianstad...

EuroMAB 2022
Hildegunn Opdal, Katja Malmborg, Kari E. Natland og Alicia Barraclogh

EuroMAB 2022 in Nockberge Biosphere park, Austria

Members of the UNESCO Chair team and representatives from Nordhordland Biosphere Reserve recently participated in the EuroMAB 2022 conference - "Tying cultures. Crossboarder cooperation between societies and generations."

COVID and Food Systems
Black and brown cows walking in a line through a gate on a field.

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the small farm sector

One might think that the similarities between farmers in Nordhordland UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and small-scale farmers in China and USA start and end with their occupation, but a new study finds striking similarities in their adaptive responses to the COVID pandemic - some of which should be...

New project
Dr. Alicia Donellan Barraclough

ACTIONABLE - Adaptive Co-management to enhance biocultural diversity and sustainable development in coastal communities

PostDoc Alicia Donellan Barraclough recently received funding for her project ACTIONABLE from The Norwegian Research Council, under the theme "Areas under pressure". The project is scheduled to start summer 2023. Read more about the project in Alicia's own words below.

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

The UNESCO and uniTwin logo made up of the acronyms letters with the outline of a porch and lines of latitude and longitude

The UNESCO-UiB contract outlines the framework and responsibilities of the UNESCO Chair at UiB.