UiB hosts workshop on “Universities and SDGs”

February 3, 2017


The University of Bergen’s (UiB’s) top priority areas, “Marine, Climate and Global Challenges”, strongly overlap with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 2030 (SDGs).


This workshop is a first concrete step towards encouraging UiB researchers to engage and discuss how institutions of higher learning, and UiB in particular, could do more to meet the global challenges inherent in the implementation of the SDGs.



The workshop focused on addressing how to contribute to Goal 4 in particular: “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. Staff involved with UiB’s global research prepared background material for the workshop.


Over-riding goal of SDGs:

end poverty in all its forms by 2030


Following a brief welcome by Tor Halvorsen, Senior Researcher, UiB Global, and Professor Bente Moen, Director for Centre for International Health, UiB the workshop’s first speaker was Anne Christine Johannessen, Professor and UiB’s Vice-Rector for International Affairs.


Knowledge shapes society


Johannessen reiterated that when developing the university’s strategic plan 2016-2019, UiB’s leadership had prioritised areas that overlap with the SDGs. The Plan establishes a framework upon which future activities can be structured, including Goal 4:


SDG4 … should concern all levels of education and also research: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all


4.7: By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

Johannessen underlined the importance of research-based contributions to global concerns in a world where “alternative facts” are becoming a disturbing reality.



She was followed by Dankert Vedeler, Director, Ministry of Education and Research. Vedeler was involved in the process that led to the formulation of Goal 4, and continues to be involved in committees that will evaluate implementation of the Goal 4 indicators.


Vedeler praised UiB for its activity thus far. He underlined the importance of the research / policy interface. According to Vedeler, that UiB is already focusing on how to address the SDGs, is a serendipitous example of science and politics working in similar directions! He shared relevant background from his long and varied experience in education from a global perspective.


Education has a significant and integrated impact on most of the SDGs.


Education is critical for people and the planet.


He concluded by stating Goal 4 will be up for Global Review in 2019 and that a Norwegian Government White Paper on Goal  4.7 will be published shortly.


The final introductory speaker was Professor Victoria W. Thoresen, UNESCO Chair for Education about Sustainable Lifestyles and Director of PERL (Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living), Hedmark University of Applied Sciences.


Among other things, Thoresen spoke of the importance of “bottom-up” approaches to initiatives addressing SDGs and not only “top-down” ones. This was echoed by Halvorsen, who said that this workshop was just a starting point for multi- and cross-disciplinary activity between researchers across Departments, Centres and Faculties at UiB.


Thoresen has also been involved in work formulating calls for Horizon2020 and reports that the SDGs will have greater visibility in upcoming calls.


UiB researchers wishing to know more about getting involved with SDG activity at UiB are invited to contact Tor Halvorsen and Bente Moen.



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