International researchers gather on August 26-27 for a conference that will put the spotlight on the Sustainability Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) in the UN’s Agenda 2030. The conference takes place at the University of Gothenburg, School of Business, Economics, and Law, and online.
Meet Gunnar Köhlin who is Director for Environment for Development and one of the driving forces in the university’s SDG 8 project!
What is the background to this?
The International Association of Universities (IAU) has a cluster called Higher Education and Research for Sustainable Development, (HESD). Some universities within this organization have taken on the responsibility of coordinating research related to one SDG each. The University of Gothenburg is coordinating the work on SDG 8.
What is the purpose of the work?
The goal of SDG 8 is to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all.
The University of Gothenburg’s work aims at involving academia in the efforts to achieve this goal. We have conducted a review of research that has been done and that is relevant to contribute to achieving nine of its sub-goals.
How is it going?
It's going great! There is a fantastic commitment among researchers at the university to contribute to this work. We have already found a lot of interesting research that is useful and will be presented and discussed at workshops at the conference.
How will the results be used?
The aim is to increase the availability of relevant research, which can help decision-makers implement good policies that contribute to achieving SDG 8.
How many are you and how have you organized the work?
There is a total of about 20 researchers from the University of Gothenburg, almost half of which are from the School of Business, Economics, and Law, plus researchers at eight universities in Asia, Africa, and South America, which are called satellite universities in this context.
We are divided into nine writing groups that focus on one sub-goal each within SDG 8. Those groups include people from several faculties at the university and they also have the opportunity for input from the satellite universities.
What is the biggest challenge with SDG 8?
SDG 8 is an overarching and very ambitious goal and it also has several very specific sub-goals. It includes both the pace of growth and the content of growth, as well as a range of factors concerning working conditions, the creation of meaningful employment, slavery, innovation, resource efficiency, sustainable tourism, and much more. That is what makes it both challenging and interesting.
What happens at the conference?
The conference aims to present an overview of research in this area and how it can contribute to achieving each sub-goal within SDG 8.
It will also be a way to expand the group with more academics who are involved in this work. With SDG 8, we test a way for researchers to get involved in societal issues with the tools we have. We start from politically defined goals and look at how we can contribute with our research - it is actually somewhat of a new way of working.
What happens next?
Then follows an academic dialogue at the satellite universities and also with decision-makers in each country. We also hope that the project will have an impact on how the countries report on their work on SDG 8 to the UN.
There will also be a book!
When does the work finish?
There is no clear finishing line. We are at the beginning of a process aimed at reaching as far as possible into the implementation of SDG 8 within the framework of Agenda 2030.
What does this mean for the university?
We are creating an exciting dynamic where we bring together researchers from different areas around a common campfire and work together for sustainable societal development.
By: Petra Hansson