Localizing The UNs SDGs for «The Whale» Museum in Andøya

Dear reader!

My name is Marina and I am Croatian student with bachelor’s degree in marine science. I am currently on my second semester of master’s programme Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology. Coming to study to Bergen allowed me to explore more options than I have ever had and open a lot of doors I would never think to walk through. Taking the course BIO299 – Research practise in Biology made me venture outside my comfort zone and learn how real scientific research works outside of classroom. This course gave us a nice peak into our future life as scientists who will one day be the leaders on projects similar to the ones we worked on during this course. For my project, I decided on working with Dr. Dorothy J. Dankel on localizing the UNs Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the “The Whale” museum located in Andenes, on the island of Andøy.

“The Whale” Museum is planned to be located at the shores of the city of Andenes in the Andøy municipality. The museum building itself has not been built yet. In 2019 there was an architectural competition for the museum building which was won by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup. Her design is showed in photos in Figure 1. The museum is set out to open in June 2025. According to their website, “The Whale is a world class attraction celebrating whales and their relationship wish man thorough science and art.” Their mission is “To create awareness and inspire learning and conservation of whales and their environment through an unforgettable and extraordinary experience.”

Figure 1. The winning project proposal for the architectural design of “The Whale”

The most important part of my project was the SDG relevance tracing method. Relevance tracing is part of the SDG Wizard developed as part of the #LoVeSeSDG project: Developing and Localizing the SDG-Thinking for Communities. The #LoVeSeSDG project is focused on the Lofoten-Vesterålen-Senja (LoVeSe) region in Norway due to its natural beauty and bountiful renewable resources under water. Over the last few decades, the region has been under increased stress from different human activities, such as resource exploitation, tourism and industry. To stop the region from suffering irreparable consequences, regional authorities are demanding more sustainable approach where SDGs come in.

We set up meeting with representatives from “The Whale” museum that work in different parts of the project to get as wide range of perspectives as possible. With them, I have went over all of the 169 targets of the 17 SDG goals and through discussion decided which of them are relevant, which are indirectly relevant and which are not relevant at all. Out of 169 goals, the museum representatives deemed 61 fully relevant, 50 indirectly relevant and 58 non relevant. Those 111 relevant and indirectly relevant are spread over all of the 17 goals, and none of them were deemed irrelevant for the museum. The results are show in form of the SDG rose (Fig. 2) showing all 169 targets. The brightest colour represent those goals that are fully relevant, middle brightness represent the indirectly relevant ones, and those that are the dullest in colour are irrelevant goals.

Figure 2. The SDG rose – result of the SDG relevance tracing

Out of all 17 goals, goals 2 (Zero Hunger), 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), 5 (Gender Equality), 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) had least number of relevant targets. Majority of targets of goals 4 (Quality Education), 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), 14 (Life Bellow Water) are classified as relevant. Rest of the goals have combination of all three categories. Those goals that are sorted in non-relevant are not being talked about at all and are completely irrelevant for the museum so once the target is in non-relevant category, it is as it doesn’t exist. Relevant and indirectly relevant targets are further discussed and talked about. If there was a possibility of having the workshop in person, after the initial relevance tracing, we would have had further conversations with “The Whale” representatives and discussed how can they keep track of the progress of moving towards the goal, and what are they already doing. Even if the second part of the workshop was not possible for me, the representatives have given me pretty good insight into how much is the museum already doing towards sustainable future. They have projects in place that will help not just members of their communities, but also some of the communities of the developing countries around the world. As well, while building their museum, they will take into consideration supply, materials and methods of building to make the building itself as sustainable as possible.

The work that “The Whale” is doing is ground-braking and could be proven to become the prototype for future such projects. There is the necessity for more people like the leaders of the museum if we want to make this world more sustainable, healthier and happier place.

Thank you for reading!

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