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Austria

Austria

9. Youth and the World

9.4 Raising awareness about global issues

Last update: 1 February 2023

Formal, non-formal and informal learning

Austria is committed to implementing the SDGs/Agenda 2030. Against this background, the pedagogical concepts of 'Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning' ("Globales Lernen und Global Citizenship Education") and 'Education for Sustainable Development' ("Bildung für Nachhaltige Entwicklung"), as mentioned in SDG Target 4.7, play an important role in raising awareness of global issues among young people in Austria. In this regard, the cross-organisational and cross-institutional Working Group (Strategiegruppe Globales Lernen), founded in 2009, has developed a strategy to strengthen Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning in the Austrian education system. The paper prepared for this purpose (Strategie Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning) was revised in 2019 and contains recommendations for the training and further education of teachers as well as for the quality development of educational offers for school and out-of-school children and youth work.

Furthermore, the Austrian Youth Strategy (see chapter 1.3) aims at the political participation of young people, especially with regard to decisions affecting their future lives (see Field of Action: Participation and Initiative). The Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) is tasked with laying the foundations for global political education for young people. Thus, within the framework of the Austrian Youth Strategy, it pursues the Youth Goal of strengthening the political participation of young people through increased integration of 'Civic Education' and 'Education for Sustainable Development' (Jugendziel: "Politische Bildung und Bildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung") into teaching. This is to be achieved with the implementation of the new generation 2020 curriculum, which will come into force with the school year 2023/24. In this way, the anchoring of "Education for Sustainable Development" (ESD) in "Civic Education", which was started in the 2016 curriculum, will be strengthened both as a mandatory content of the curriculum and as an intensification of the development of sustainability and environmental policy competences. In addition to acquiring skills and abilities for political participation and involvement in the consolidation and further development of democracy and human rights, young people shall also be educated in lessons about their ecological and sustainable decision-making and action skills. For this reason, textbooks are being redesigned and their content is strongly linked to environmental policy issues.

Formal learning

In the Austrian school system, dealing with and imparting knowledge about global issues is understood as a cross-curricular educational concern that goes beyond the content structure of a single subject. Education concepts such as “Education on Sustainable Development” and “Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning” are therefore applied in various subjects, in accordance with the curricula devised by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research. Depending on the type of school (Schulart), they serve as a basis and orientation framework for the teaching and educational work of the educators. Furthermore, the teaching principles “Civic Education” and “Environmental education for sustainable development” are intended to provide students with cross-curricular knowledge in terms of global contexts. The two teaching principles are taught in different ways in Austrian schools. Depending on the type of school and school level, either as a separate subject or as a combination subject in secondary school forms.  

  • Civic Education (Politische Bildung): The basic principles, goals and implementation of civic education at school are laid down in the 'Basic Decree for the Teaching Principle of Civic Education' ("Grundsatzerlass für das Unterrichtsprinzip politische Bildung"), which was reissued in 2015. The polis centre (Zentrum polis) is the central pedagogical service institution for curricular political education. In various subjects (History, History and Social Studies, Political Education as well and Geography and Economics), a tabular overview (tabellarische Übersicht) shows the extent to which civic education is taught at all secondary schools. BAOBAB provides a link collection for school workshops (Angebote für Schulen) by Austrian NGOs addressing global issues. The annual series 'Action Days Political Education' (“Aktionstage Politische Bildung”), initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research and coordinated by the polis center, invites interested parties, especially teachers and students, to participate in daily events and activities (seminars, workshops, discussions etc.) around global topics, such as war and humanitarian aid, climate change and democratic rights.
  • Environmental education for sustainable development (Umweltbildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung): Since 1979, environmental education has also been anchored in the Austrian school system as a teaching principle that focuses on the relationship between people and the environment. As a global concern, it is intended to promote competencies and attitudes in students for shaping a sustainable society, taking into account resource conservation and distributive justice. The Basic decree on environmental education for sustainable development (Grundsatzerlass Umweltbildung für nachhaltige Entwicklung), updated in 2014, applies to all school levels and types and forms the basis for all activities in the field of environmental education as well as for the ÖKOLOG programme and network.

Since the Austrian school system differentiates between general education schools (Allgemeinbildende Schulen) and vocational schools (Berufsbildende Schulen), there are differences in the content and hours of education on global topics at the upper secondary level (Sekundarstufe II/Oberstufe).

  • At the upper secondary level (9th to 12th grade) of general education schools (Allgemeinbildende höhere Schule), including Gymnasium, the Realgymnasium, the economic Realgymnasium as well as special forms with e.g. intensified artistic, sports or foreign language teaching and the Polytechnic (Polytechnikum); global topics are predominantly dealt with in the compulsory subjects “History and Social Studies/Political Education” and “Geography and Economic Studies”. With a general teaching load of 1-3 units (hours) per week, school autonomous curricula (§ 6 para. 1b of the School Organization Act), however, allow for the design of subjects, e.g. by increasing or reducing the number of teaching units. In principle, students can also choose in-depth specializations in so-called elective subjects (Wahlpflichtfächer) from the 10th grade (also referred to as 6th grade upper/high school) onwards, which can also be taken in the above-mentioned subjects (usually 2 units/week).
    • Since September 1, 2018, the new competency-based curricula of the general secondary school (5th to 12th grade – age 10 to 18) are in force (see: legal regulation for curricula – general secondary schools; Rechtsvorschrift für Lehrpläne – allgemeinbildende höhere Schulen). Students are to be provided with a comprehensive and in-depth general education in specific educational areas. The educational and teaching mission in upper secondary education (9th-12th grade) relates primarily to the following subjects with regard to global issues:
    • Pursuant to Section 6(4) of the School Organization Act (Schulorganisationsgesetz), several subjects may be combined into a single subject. The compulsory subject History and Social Studies/Political Education combines the subjects History and Social Studies (9th and 10th grade) and History and Political Education (11th and 12th grade). The lessons shall provide insight into the history and politics of different spatial dimensions as well as their interconnectedness. In particular, intercultural and global learning shall be incorporated into the lessons to provide students with the following:
      • Imparting general knowledge about and understanding of societal (especially political, economic, legal, social, ecological, cultural) interrelationships;
      • Understanding of global issues and problems in their complexity, their causes and consequences as well as understanding of politics and human rights-based democracy;
      • Enabling analytical and reflexive thinking towards the plurality of political models, including concepts of common good and justice, war and peace as well as dictatorship and democracy;
      • Identification with and importance of democracy, fundamental human rights and the rule of law as well as the promotion of interest in politics and political participation;
      • Personal and societal responsibility from the perspective of global interconnectedness;
      • Promotion of critical examination of social inequality structures - humanity, solidarity, tolerance, peace, justice, gender equality and environmental awareness as guiding values;
      • The confrontation with different world views offering the students possible answers and explanatory patterns for an independent value orientation;
      • Pan-European thinking and cosmopolitanism as basis for a peaceful and equal coexistence in a global and supra-regional context;
      • Preparation of private and public life for orientation towards ecological sustainability and civic engagement.
    • The subject History and Social Studies/Political Education should not only enable students to understand global social and political contexts and developments, but also to use all possibilities of democratic co-determination responsibly. The basis for this is an insight into the existential problems of humanity and shared responsibility.
    • Geography and Economic studies focus on the life worlds of young people and show a clear orientation towards the present and the future. The aim is to make students capable of making decisions and taking action in a time of global change. Major global challenges are to be made visible and possible options for action developed. Accordingly, the analysis of the background and consequences of human actions in society, environment(s) and economy as well as politically educating teaching and learning processes are central concerns of the subject lessons. The spatial component is given special consideration. The following three topics are hereby covered as subject matter in the context of global issues:
      • Sustainability and quality of life: communicating the interrelation of these two concepts to young students, who learn to understand the basic concept of sustainability as a kind of leitmotif of ecological modernization; these are to consider how the fragile human-environment system can be brought into a desired balance and how the negotiation of a balance with regard to the supporting pillars of sustainability (society, economy, nature) can be supported; further focus is on the equal safeguarding of the ecological, material and social foundations of life under the guiding principles of sustainability and solidarity, which prove to be a necessary prerequisite for the highest possible quality of life of individuals and society;
      • Human-environment relations: are to be understood as to play a central role in people’s everyday actions, including relationships to the physical as well as the social and economic environment; enabling students to understand global dimensions of increased speed of processes in the human-environment system; facilitating students with the development of one’s own repertoire of actions, which are to be reflected with reference to concepts of sustainability;
      • Geo-ecosystems: are to be understood as self-regulating interactions between biosystem, geosystem and animate factors that function in a dynamic equilibrium; conveying vulnerability of these system, e.g. due to human interventions, but also their resilience and adaptability; students shall learn to weigh up and assess natural conditions and their anthropogenic deformation from the perspective of global opportunity and risk.
  • Since vocational schools (Berufsschule) (including middle and secondary schools, apprenticeship, vocational preparation year and individual vocational training) have a more specific educational focus, they differ more in the subjects they teach. Global issues, however, are primarily understood as a topic that is covered in the specified compulsory subjects of secondary education. The subjects in which global issues are dealt with can be seen in the respective curricula of the individual vocational schools (list of curricula in German available). As examples, two types of curricula are singled out here – apprenticeship and vocational secondary schools – to illustrate the embedding of global topics in the respective vocational school contexts.
    • The framework curriculum for the teaching profession/apprenticeship (Rahmenlehrplan für den Lehrberuf), which includes a variety of different teaching professions (such as businessperson, baker, florist etc.), covers topics such as developmental education, gender equality education, political and environmental education, among others, with regard to education on global issues in a broader sense. In more detail, global issues are often dealt with in the compulsory subject “Political Education”, which includes didactic principles and topic such as:
      • Identification with democracy, human rights and the rule of law as well as the promotion of interest in politics and political participation;
      • Teaching of critical, analytical and reflective thinking as well as understanding and assessing the effects of political decisions on citizens;
      • Teaching of personal and social responsibility, civil society commitment, fundamental and human rights, and international cooperation;
      • Promotion of the development of a (self-)critical attitude towards social world views, the development of one’s own values, the promotion of the ability to independently assess political facts and the development of the ability to be tolerant of different points of view;
      • Meetings with representatives from public life are to be encouraged;  
    • With regard to the curriculum of vocational secondary schools, the teaching of global issues also relates to the different focus areas of the respective school. The here cited example of the 'curriculum of the commercial academy – communication and media informatic' ("Lehrplan der Handelsakademie – Kommunikation und Medieninformatik") for instance, assigns the education on global topics primarily to the subjects 'Political Education and History' as well as 'Geography” and “International Economic and Cultural Areas', covering the didactic and content-related teaching of:
      • Promoting the reflection on the interrelationships of political, economic and cultural processes of change;
      • Conveying an understanding of democracy, basic rights and freedoms, and civil rights – the ability to differentiate politically and form opinions;
      • Students should recognize causal relationships between historical and economic developments;
      • Assessment of international peacekeeping organizations and critically evaluate their actions in terms of sustainability;
      • Ability to analyse demographic processes and their impact on different societies;
      • Knowledge about globalization and multicultural societies as well as about differences in economic development and their causes at the global level;
      • Addressing causes and consequences of anthropogenic climate change and its relation to responsible action-taking;
      • Ecological and societal impacts of endogenous and exogenous forces – analysis of natural land use potential and limits;
      • Students shall evaluate processes of internationalization and globalization and their effects on politics, society and culture, also in regards to individual countries.

Non-formal and informal learning

In Austria, the communication and mediation of global issues in the non-formal or informal sector mainly is related to extracurricular youth work, with a strong focus on leisure activities. Extracurricular youth work includes all young people until the age of 30 and refers primarily to the three pillars: associational youth work (verbandliche Jugendarbeit), open youth work (offene Jugendarbeit) and youth information work (Jugendinformationsarbeit). In doing so, participating organizations set different priorities in shaping youth participation in relation to global issues, such as environmental protection, social justice, regional procurement, education and awareness raising. Empowering young people in the field of sustainable development is at the heart of many activities. In order to anchor Global Citizenship Education/Global Learning more strongly in extracurricular activities, the Global Learning Group has published measures in its strategy paper on this subject (Strategiegruppe Globales Lernen/Global Citizenship Education 2019: 26ff).

The Federal Youth Council (Bundesjugendvertretung) sees the participation and active co-design of young people as a central focus of action, especially in the field of sustainable development. In this sense, the climate campaign #timeforchange offers young people the opportunity to actively participate in climate policy, whether by participating in the Climate Youth Council (Klimajugendrat 2023), by submitting their own project for the Climate Action Award (Climate Action Award 2023) or as a member of the Teams SDG, which connects young committed people.

Based on the SDGs of the Agenda 2030 and the goals of the UN Convention on Children and Human Rights, the initiative sustainLabel supports Austrian children’s and youth organizations and provides a common framework for sustainable and future-oriented action. The initiative is supported by 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 Developmen” 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.

  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and carried out by the Federal 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 (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.

  • 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”). 
  • 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”).
  • 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 Südwindhas 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:

 

  • 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.
  • 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’ (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.
  • 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).