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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.4 Raising awareness about global issues

Last update: 7 February 2024

Formal, non-formal and informal learning

Austria is dedicated to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030. Within this framework, two pedagogical concepts, namely 'Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning' ("Globales Lernen und Global Citizenship Education") and 'Education for Sustainable Development' ("Bildung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung"), as stated in SDG Target 4.7, play a crucial role in creating awareness of global issues among young people in Austria.

To strengthen Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning in the Austrian education system, a cross-organizational and cross-institutional Working Group called 'Strategiegruppe Globales Lernen' was established in 2009. In 2019, they revised a document named Strategie Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning, which provides recommendations for the training and professional development of teachers, as well as for improving the quality of educational offerings for both school and out-of-school children and youth activities.

The Austrian Youth Strategy places significant emphasis on encouraging the active involvement of young individuals in political processes that shape their future. This objective is specifically addressed in the field of action referred to as 'Participation and Initiative' (chapter 1.3). The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) takes responsibility for establishing the groundwork for comprehensive global political education among the youth. As an integral component of the Austrian Youth Strategy, the BMBWF strives to enhance the political participation of young individuals by incorporating 'Civic Education' and 'Education for Sustainable Development' (Jugendziel: 'Politische Bildung und Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung') more extensively into educational curricula.

Formal learning

In the Austrian school system, teaching and learning about global issues is considered an important aspect that goes beyond individual subjects. Concepts like "Education on Sustainable Development" and "Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning" are incorporated into various subjects based on the curricula provided by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. These concepts serve as a foundation and guide for educators in their teaching and educational activities, depending on the specific type of school (Schulart). Additionally, the principles of "Civic Education" and "Environmental education for sustainable development" aim to provide students with knowledge that spans across different subjects and relates to global contexts. These principles are taught in different ways depending on the type of school and grade level, either as separate subjects or as a combined subject in secondary schools.

Civic Education (Politische Bildung)

Civic Education, also known as ‘Politische Bildung’ in Austria, is guided by the 'Basic Decree for the Teaching Principle of Civic Education’(Grundsatzerlass für das Unterrichtsprinzip politische Bildung), which was reissued in 2015. It outlines the fundamental principles, goals, and implementation of Civic Education in schools.

The ‘polis centre’ (Zentrum polis) serves as the central pedagogical institution for curriculum-based political education. A tabular overview (tabellarische Übersicht) is provided in various subjects such as History, History and Social Studies, Political Education, Geography, and Economics, which indicates the extent to which Civic Education is taught in secondary schools.

BAOBAB offers a collection of links to workshops on global issues organized by Austrian NGOs (Angebote für Schulen). The annual 'Action Days Political Education' (Aktionstage Politische Bildung), initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science, and Research and coordinated by the polis centre, invites teachers, students, and other interested persons to participate in daily events and activities, including seminars, workshops and discussions on global issues such as war and humanitarian aid, climate change and democratic rights.

Environmental Education for Sustainable Development (Umweltbildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung)

‘Environmental education for sustainable development’ (Umweltbildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung)  has been a part of the Austrian school system since 1979. It focuses on the relationship between people and the environment and aims to develop students' competencies and attitudes for creating a sustainable society, considering resource conservation and distributive justice. The Basic decree on environmental education for sustainable development (Grundsatzerlass Umweltbildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung), last updated in 2014, applies to all levels and types of schools and serves as the foundation for environmental education activities, including the ÖKOLOG program and network.

In Austria, educational institutions have the opportunity to join network initiatives that encourage collaboration among schools on sustainability and environmental issues. These programs emphasize educational activities with students, which can occur both inside and outside the classroom, such as field trips and interactive programs (see also overview of labels and networks for schools). Some notable networks in Austria include UNESCO Schools (UNESCO Schulen), ÖKOLOG Schools (ÖKOLOG Schulen), Climate Schools Project (Klimaschulen Projekt), Climate Alliance Schools (Klimabündnis Schulen), Fairtrade Schools (Fairtrade Schulen), Schools on the move (Schulen im Aufbruch), and Entrepreneurship Education Schools (Entrepreneurship Education Schulen).

Global Education Disparities in Austrian General and Vocational Schools at Upper Secondary Level

The Austrian school system categorizes schools into general education schools (Allgemeinbildende Schulen) and vocational schools (Berufsbildende Schulen). As a result, there are variations in the curriculum and the amount of time devoted to global topics during the upper secondary level (Sekundarstufe II/Oberstufe).

General  Education Schools (Allgemeinbildende höhere Schule)

At the upper secondary level (9th to 12th grade) of general education schools in Austria, such as Gymnasium, Realgymnasium, and special forms with intensified artistic, sports, or foreign language teaching, global topics are primarily covered in the compulsory subjects ‘History and Social Studies/Political Education’ and ‘Geography and Economic Studies’. The teaching load for global topics generally ranges from 1 to 3 hours per week, but schools have the flexibility to adjust the number of teaching hours within certain limits (§ 6 para. 1b of the School Organization Act).

As of September 1, 2018, competency-based curricula (see legal regulation for curricula – general secondary schools: Rechtsvorschrift für Lehrpläne – allgemeinbildende höhere Schulen) are implemented in general secondary schools (5th to 12th grade, ages 10 to 18). The aim is to provide students with a comprehensive and in-depth general education across specific educational areas. In the upper secondary level (9th-12th grade), the focus is on several subjects related to global issues.

  • The compulsory subject "History and Social Studies/Political Education" combines history, social studies, and political education (see also School Organisation Act; Schulorganisationsgesetz) . The lessons aim to provide insight into the history and politics of various regions and their interconnections. Students learn about societal interrelationships, global issues, political systems, human rights-based democracy, and the importance of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. The subject also promotes critical thinking, personal and societal responsibility, social equality, tolerance, peace, justice, gender equality, environmental awareness, and independent value orientation. It encourages students to think in a pan-European and cosmopolitan manner for peaceful coexistence in a global context. Additionally, the subject prepares students for ecological sustainability and civic engagement.
  • "Geography and Economic Studies" focuses on the present and future lives of young people. The subject equips students with decision-making and action-taking skills in a time of global change. It examines the background and consequences of human actions in society, the environment, and the economy. The spatial component is emphasized. Three main topics related to global issues are covered: sustainability and quality of life, human-environment relations, and geo-ecosystems. Students learn about sustainability as a guiding principle for ecological modernization, the interrelation between sustainability and quality of life, and the importance of balancing the ecological, material, and social foundations of life. They also explore human-environment relationships and their global dimensions, develop their own repertoire of actions reflecting sustainability concepts, and understand the vulnerability, resilience, and adaptability of geo-ecosystems.

Overall, these subjects aim to help students understand global social, political, and environmental contexts, as well as encourage responsible democratic participation and active engagement in addressing global challenges.

Vocational Schools (Berufsschule)

Vocational schools (Berufsschule) have a more specific educational focus, and as a result, the subjects they teach differ more. However, global issues are primarily addressed in the compulsory subjects of secondary education. The specific subjects in which global issues are covered can be found in the curricula of individual vocational schools (list of curricula in German). Two types of curricula - apprenticeship and vocational secondary schools - are mentioned here as examples to demonstrate how global topics are integrated into vocational education.

Framework Curriculum for Apprenticeships

The framework curriculum for apprenticeships (Rahmenlehrplan für den Lehrberuf) covers a wide range of teaching professions and incorporates various topics. These include developmental education, gender equality education, political and environmental education, and education on global issues. The curriculum emphasizes these global issues in the compulsory subject 'Political Education,' focusing on principles like democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. It aims to promote political interest and participation, critical thinking skills, understanding of political decisions' impact, personal and social responsibility, civil society engagement, fundamental and human rights, and international cooperation. The curriculum also encourages the development of a critical attitude, independent assessment of political facts, tolerance towards different viewpoints, and meaningful interactions with representatives from public life.

Integrating Global Issues in Vocational Secondary Education

In vocational secondary schools, global issues are taught in a way that aligns with the specific focus areas of each school. In the curriculum of the ‘Commercial Academy - Communication and Media Informatics’ (Lehrplan der Handelsakademie – Kommunikation und Medieninformatik), for instance, global topics are primarily integrated into subjects like 'Political Education and History,' 'Geography,' and 'International Economic and Cultural Areas.' The curriculum covers various concepts and content, such as understanding the interconnectedness of political, economic, and cultural processes, promoting democracy and civil rights, and recognizing the relationships between historical and economic developments. It also focuses on globalization, multicultural societies, economic disparities, anthropogenic climate change, and the impacts of internationalization and globalization on politics, society, and culture.

Non-formal and informal learning

In Austria, the communication and mediation of global issues in non-formal or informal settings primarily occur through extracurricular youth work, which emphasizes leisure activities. Extracurricular youth work encompasses young people up to the age of 30 and includes associational youth work (verbandliche Jugendarbeit), open youth work (offene Jugendarbeit), and youth information work (Jugendinformationsarbeit). Different organizations prioritize youth participation in various global issues, such as environmental protection, social justice, regional procurement, education, and awareness-raising. Many activities aim to empower young people in the field of sustainable development. To integrate Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning more effectively into extracurricular activities, the Global Learning Group has proposed measures in its strategy paper (Strategiegruppe Globales Lernen/Global Citizenship Education 2019: 26ff).

The Federal Youth Council (Bundesjugendvertretung) considers the participation and active involvement of young people, particularly in sustainable development, as a central focus. The climate campaign #timeforchange provides opportunities for young people to engage in climate policy by joining the Climate Youth Council (Klimajugendrat 2023), submitting their own projects for the Climate Action Award (Climate Action Award 2023), or becoming members of the Teams SDG, which connects dedicated young individuals.

The initiative ‘sustainLabel’ supports Austrian children's and youth organizations in adopting sustainable and forward-looking actions, based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the Agenda 2030 and the goals of the UN Convention on Children and Human Rights. The initiative receives support from the Federal Ministry of Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology.

With the focus on “Climate Protection and Sustainability” (EureProjekte “Klimaschutz und Nachhaltikeit”), the Federal Chancellery – Section Family and Youth, in cooperation with the Austrian Youth Infos, awarded 750€ to young people for projects that strengthen knowledge about environmental issues and promote a sustainable everyday life.

Educator’s support

There are several networks, info points, websites and platforms that provide digital and analogue access to information material, handbooks and guidelines on global issues for educators in school and out-of-school settings (see below). The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research also offers a variety of resources for schools in the field of environmental education (Ressourcen für Schulen im Bereich Umweltbildung).

  • The ECOLOG School Network for Education and Sustainability (ÖKOLOG Schulnetzwerk für Bildung und Nachhaltigkeit), which has been implementing the teaching principle 'Environmental Education for Sustainable Development' for more than 20 years now in ÖKOLOG schools was initiated by the Ministry of Education and provides numerous materials [such as the Handbook for Ecological School Management (Handbuch für ökologisches Schulmanagement), ÖKOLOG Network Handbook (ÖKOLOG Netzwerkhandbuch), ÖKOLOG posters (ÖKOLOG Poster)], partly free of charge to ÖKOLOG schools, and support educators in their ecological initiative at school or in their further education.
  • ENSI Environment and School Initiatives (ENSI Umwelt und Schulinitiativen): is a government funded international network that has been involved in international research and development in the field of environmental education and school development as well as education for sustainable development since 1986. Internationally, ENSI provides contacts, information and cooperation partners for the ECOLOG network worldwide, especially in the context of international conferences and projects.
  • eTwinnnig offers teachers and other educational professionals the opportunity to work on projects with their students alongside colleagues from other countries participating in the Erasmus+ programme. In the form of eTwinning groups (e.g. “Sustainability Education Network Service eTwinning”), ideas and activities can be exchanged and shared online. Since June 1st 2022, eTwinning is integrated into the new European School Education Platform, which provides project kits (e.g. 'Transmission for global times' – "Transmission für globale Zeiten” for 14 – 18 year olds), practice examples, publications (e.g. Our future, beautiful, sustainable, together), testimonials and an online environment where eTwinners can communicate, create projects, exchange, train and learn together.
  • The polis center (Zentrum polis – Politik lernen in der Schule) offers teachers in service and further training (Weiterbildungsangebote) in the form of courses, seminars and workshops in areas such as (European) political education, human rights education and education for sustainable development etc.
  • The Environmental Education Forum (Forum Umweltbildung) develops educational formats for the simple and effective communication of global issues such as sustainability goals or climate protection. Educators in schools and out-of-school settings can access practical materials online (Online-Praxismaterialien) for implantation suggestions and methodological preparation. They can find various teaching materials, such as the publication 'Our World. Our Future' (“Unsere Welt. Unsere Zukunft”), for which there is also accompanying material (in German available). The publication is also available in English as a PDF and is therefore very suitable for international eTwinning projects.
  • The digital platform Education2030 (Bildung2030) offers support to learners and teachers in the formal sector as well as in extracurricular and adult education in dealing with sustainable and globally just development in the sense of the 2030 Agenda. The platform collects Austria-wide offers and materials for schools as well as for other places of learning outside the classroom. It offers an overview of current training and further education for multipliers in educational work. These offers are based on quality criteria developed by the platform itself. Furthermore, the platform presents the educational concepts of Global Learning/Global Citizenship Education and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The implementation of the Education2030 platform is financed by the Austrian Development Cooperation (Österreichische Entwicklungszusammenarbeit) and the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (Bundesministerium für Klimaschutz, Umwelt, Energie, Mobilität, Innovation und Technologie. Educators can access offers for workshops (Workshops), exhibitions (Ausstellungen), courses (Lehrgängen), online courses (online Kursen), seminars (Seminare) etc. as well as didactic materials  (Bildungsmaterialien) for educational work, depending on age group, topics or the various sustainable development goals. In particular, materials and offers are also provided for extracurricular learning venues (außerschulische Lernorte) such as education and youth work.
  • The educational platform 'edutube' (access German website) offers journalistically reliable researched short videos and documentaries in public service quality from the holdings of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF) and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF), which are suitable in terms of content as a supplement and support for digital teaching. All teachers and learners in Austria can use the offer for non-commercial educational purposes. More than 800 videos are available on the website in eight different thematic blocks, including Media/Digital, Climate/Environment, Health/Lifestyle, People/Culture, Politics/Europe, History/Current Affairs, Economy/Consumption and Science/Research.
  • The web platform Eduskills.Plus, developed in cooperation with Südwind, offers materials on global learning and ready-to-use teaching modules on topics such as Globalization, Global economy, Development, Human rights, Critical thinking, Poverty, Migration, Gender equality, Civil society, Environment and Climate change, which can be accessed via the interactive learning platform 'monda'. Here, teachers can also find additional literature, policy documents, videos and didactic materials. Discussion forums invite teachers to exchange with an international community.
  • The Society for Communication, Development and Dialogical Education (Gesellschaft für Kommunikation, Entwicklung und dialogische Bildung) offers information on the topic of ‘Global Learning & Global Citizenship Education’ ("Globales Lernen & Global Citizenship Education") on its platform 'KommeENT' (in German available). With the publication series Analyses & Impulses, educators and actors in the field of education also have the opportunity to deal with critical debates on political and educational policy issues.
  • The #act4change platform (in German available) offers numerous educational materials (Materialien) and workshops for educators in the school- and non-formal education sector on the topics of global learning, political education, civil courage etc.
  • The Forum Civic Education (Forum Politische Bildung), which has been dedicated to promoting civic education in schools for almost 30 years, offers lesson examples (Unterrichtsbeispiele) and didactic materials (Fachdidaktische Beiträge) for school practice.
  • With the information series “Information on Civic Education” (“Informationen zur Politischen Bildung”) the forum provides support to teachers in implementing civic education in the classroom. For example, the anniversary booklet No. 50 “Politically educated – but how?” (“Politisch gebildet – aber wie?”) contains theories, planning aids and lesson examples that teachers can incorporate into their teaching.
  • The Südwind education project 'Teaching World Class' (“Welt-Klasse unterrichten“) develops supplementary textbooks for selected subjects with references to global learning. The manuals are available to teachers free of charge as part of a further training course.
  • Teachers have the opportunity to participate in the Letter Marathon (Briefmarathon) with their students. Amnesty International (in German available) provides teaching materials and general information on human rights and much more. Participation aims to promote skills such as political participation, awareness of human rights and solidarity among young people.
  • Global Education Week is a Europe-wide week of action that aims to strengthen the pedagogical concept of Global Learning in the European education landscape and thus contribute to the achievement of the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda. The target group is teachers and educators in all sectors as well as learners. Offers for educational work (Angebote für Bildungsarbeit are available on the website.
  • BAOBAB (access German website) is a library and place for education and consultation for educators and their practice. As an independent non-profit organization, it has been promoting knowledge and education about global interconnections, social justice issues and sustainable development since 1993. The library lends out over 8,000 analogue and digital educational media and teaching materials, games, films and books. Among other things, it advises educators from school and youth work; offers practice-oriented training and events; provides teaching materials, didactic media, training and advice for practice in schools and out-of- school settings in relation to Global Learning.  
  • The Digital Südwind Library (Digitalen Südwind Bibliothek) offers free downloadable teaching materials for people in the education sector. In addition to information about global issues, they also offer inspiration for everyday school life and concepts for global learning.
  • The Institute for Environment, Peace and Development (IUFE – Institut für Umwelt, Friede und Entwicklung) has been publishing various educational offers on the SDGs since May 2020, including audio stories, exercise sheets, workshop offers and an SDG photo exhibition. The SDG-educational offers (SDG-Bildungsangebote) are primarily aimed at educators for use in lessons with children and young people.
  • WIENXTRA (access German website), the Institute for Leisure Time Education, is also the further education centre for open, out-of-school youth work in Vienna. In this context the institute offers further educational programme (Bildungsprogramm) on topics such as democracy, human rights, sustainability et.

Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues

Most large-scale campaigns in Austria dealing with the promotion of global issues among young people are initiated by clubs, associations or non-governmental organisations and are often partly funded by the state. Some of the most important recent and current campaigns are presented below.

'Development Knowledge for All 2022 - 2026' (Austrian Foundation for Development Research)

With the programme 'Development Knowledge for All 2022 – 2026' (“Entwicklungswissen für Alle 2022 – 2026”), the Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE) aims to contribute to the increased visibility, discussion and implementation of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development in Austria. A special focus in SDG 4 “Quality Education” and disadvantaged people is made. In addition, the programme intends to reach young people, especially upper secondary school students, to enable them to take a critical and differentiated view of global development issues. Numerous events are further designed to support the dissemination of global issues. These include offers for students, trainings, newsletters, radio and video materials, as well as improved accessibility of digital materials and facilitated online access to the C3 library.

Campaigns on 'Democracy' and 'Climate Change' (Austrian Youth Infos)

With its regular and annual campaigns on youth-relevant topics, the Austrian Youth Infos (Österreichischen Jugendinfos) contribute to the factual and low-threshold dissemination of information among Austria's young people. In relation to global issues, Youth Infos has run two major campaings in recent years:

  • Their campaign 'You decide! What democracy has to do with your life' (“Du entscheidest! Was Demokratie mit deinem Leben zu tun hat”), launched in 2019, provides youth-oriented information on the topics of democracy and politics as well as decision-making skills. The publication is primarily aimed at young people between 14 and 16 years of age as well as teachers working with this age group. An additional educational material, which can also be downloaded free of charge, is suitable for schools as well as other institutions working with young people.
  • In autumn 2020, the Austrian Youth Infos (Österreichischen Jugendinfos) in cooperation with Climate Alliance (Klimabündnis Österreich) carried out the information campaign 'With Facts against Fake News: Climate Change' (“Mit Fakten gegen Fake News: Klimawandel”). The aim of the campaign was to teach young people a critical and competent approach to media and information in times of fake news and information overload. In the course of the campaign, information materials (in German available) tailored to young people and educators were published. These included a brochure for young people with arguments against climate change deniers; info postcards on the topics “Fake News and Climate Change”, “Fake News on Climate Change and Corona” and “Stop Fake News”; a handout for teachers with exercises and worksheets on the topic of Fake News and Climate Change – to promote students’ media literacy on the topic of climate change as well as to teach criteria for source criticism and tips, websites & tools for recognising Fake News; as well as information poster with apt definitions of internet phenomena (e.g. fake news, conspiracy theories, hoax, clickbait and sponsored content).
#timeforchange (ADA + National Youth Council)

Funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and carried out by the National Youth Council (BJV -Bundes-Jugendvertretung), the Catholic Youth Austria (Katholischen Jugend Österreich) and other BJV members, the climate campaign #timeforchange took place between 2020 and 2022. It aimed to actively involve young people in climate policy discussions, focusing on the topics of Energy (Energie), Consumption (Konsum), Mobilty (Mobilität) and Participation (Beteiligung). On the latter topic, young people (14 – 30 years) also had the opportunity to participate in the Youth Climate Council in Parliament and thus exchange views on climate policy with other young people and members of the National Council. Supporting the implementation of the SDGs/Agenda 2030, the campaign particularly paid attention to Goal 13 “Take action on climate change”.

Action Days on Civic Education (Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research)

Action Days on Civic Education (Aktionstage Politische Bildung) are an annual series of events initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) and coordinated by the polis centre, which aims to communicate current topics and initiatives in the field of civic education, particularly to students and teachers. Under the motto “Strengthening democratic competence” (“Demokratiekompetenz stärken”), the action days in 2023 will take place from 23 April to 9 May.

Information providers

In order to disseminate information about global issues among young people in Austria, government institutions often cooperate with organisations in the youth field. The most important organisations that help to inform young people about global issues inside and outside the school sector are presented below.

Austrian Youth Infos

The Austrian Youth Infos (Österreichische Jugendinfos) are the specialised agency for youth-oriented information preparation and dissemination for non-commercial purposes. Funded by the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt), they provide free, up-to-date, relevant, understandable and informative assistance to young people between 12 and 26 years of age in all federal provinces. As an association of all, the Federal Networks of Austrian Youth Info (BÖJI – Bundesnetzwerke für Österreichische Jugendinfos) regularly participates in the federal government’s structures for further development of national youth policy. In this context, they offer, among other things, educational materials on global issues for young people as well as for educators in school and out-of-school work (see 9.4.2 Campaigns of BÖJI). Through the online Youth Portal (Jugendportal), young people can access verified information on a wide range of topics, such as 'Democracy and Youth Policy', 'Europe and the EU' and 'Society and the Environment'; a special focus is also put on the campaigns 'With Facts Against Fake News: Climate Change' (“Mit Fakten gegen Fake News: Klimawandel”) and 'Know Your Rights' (“Kenn’ dein Recht”). 

Austrian Development Agency (ADA)

With the support of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA), the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) is committed to the implementation of the SDGs/Agenda 2030 in national and international framework. In order to disseminate information on global issues in Austrian civil society and to actively involve younger and older generations in these issues, ADA repeatedly supports and participates in international as well as national cooperation projects (Laufende Projekte), such as the support and further development of the web platform “Education 2030” on Global Learning and Education for Sustainable Development (Projekt Bildung2030) or the support and participation in the project “We live SDGs” (“Wir leben SDGs”).

Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE)

The Austrian Foundation for Development Research (ÖFSE) has been informing, documenting and advising on issues relevant to development policy for more than 50 years. In this context, it opens up and imparts knowledge through educational projects and offers. These are also aimed in particular at young people and students outside the development community in Austria. With its integrative approach, ÖFSE’s educational and outreach activities tie in with current focal points of the national and international debate on SDG 4.7. Furthermore, it offers young people assistance in dealing with topics of global sustainable development of the 2030 Agenda. Together with partners, ÖFSE implements projects in the field of Global Citizenship Education and Transformative Education in Austria, but also within the EU. These educational projects involve educators, multipliers, students, open education actors and young people, contributing to an increased engagement in an active transformation process. Since 2009, ÖFSE, together with BAOBAB and Frauen*solidarität, has been running the C3 Library for Development Policy, the largest academic and educational library on international development women/gender and Global Learning in Austria, which informs and supports both teachers and learners.


The association Südwind has been making global interrelationships comprehensible for teachers, pupils, multipliers and an interested public for 40 years. The educational work, which takes place in numerous federal provinces, is primarily oriented towards the concepts of Global Learning/Global Citizenship Education (Globales Lernen) and Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Through educational work in and out of schools (Bildung – Übersicht), regional libraries, teaching materials and training programmes, as well as through the publication of the Südwind Magazine and other publications, Südwind in Austria addresses global interrelationships and their effects.

Key initiatives

In Austria, numerous initiatives contribute to spreading global awareness among young people. While some initiatives in this context are one-off and take place over a longer period of time, others are organised annually and are, for instance, daily or weekly events, where global knowledge is imparted to young people through active participation. A selection is listed below.

'We live SDG'

The nationwide SDG initiative 'We live SDG' (“Initiative 2022 – Wir leben SDG”), supported by the Austrian Development Association, promotes understanding and engagement with the concerns of the 2030 Agenda in Austrian society. Especially, young people between 12 and 35 years of age are to be addressed. Moreover, girls and young women as well as people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth are to be increasingly involved. The SDG working group, consisting of various non-governmental organisations in the field of sustainability and development, helps to ensure that the goals of the initiative are achieved. In this sense, young people should be made aware of the connections between their own living environment and the SDGs and have the opportunity to actively participate. The large Austrian youth umbrella organisations (BJV, BoJA) serve as multipliers for small projects within the framework of the initiative. In total, around 2.5 million young people are to be reached.

'Global Education Week'

Held annually since 1999, ‘Global Education Week’ (website in German) is a Europe-wide week of action aimed at strengthening the pedagogical concept of Global Learning and thus contributing to the achievement of the 17 sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda. It is aimed at teachers and educators in all sectors as well as children and young people. Through the week, young people will learn about the causes and effects of global and local problems. Each year, a collection of links and teaching material on the respective topic is made available. The NGO responsible for the Austrian Global Education Week is Südwind. In addition to EU funding, this initiative is also supported by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. During this week, a number of workshops and film screenings are offered for schools and organisations in the field of extracurricular youth work. 

'Rebels of Change'

‘Rebels of Change’ (website in German) brings the United Nations 2030 Agenda to life for a young audience. The initiative is an alliance of eight child, youth, and development policy organisations. Funded by the Austrian Development Agency and coordinated by Südwind, it primarily shows youth and young adults ways to become active together for a better world – through creative workshops and other youth participation formats, including social media actions. Under the hashtag #TeamUpForChange, the campaign has a strong digital focus and was designed together with young people, focusing in youth engagement for a better world.

Climate Action Award

Together with the Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology, the BJV awards the Climate Action Award (website in German) to projects that have been developed and/or implemented by young people (under 30 years of age) themselves. A jury of experts from the fields of climate and/or youth selects the best projects. These then also have the opportunity to be presented at the Climate Youth Council in Parliament (see chapter 9.3).