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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.4 Raising awareness about global issues

Last update: 28 November 2023

Formal, non-formal and informal learning

In the context of formal learning 

  • At Federal level

The programme “Show the hand” (Annoncer la couleur – Kleur bekenen) is a federal awareness programme on the topic of worldwide citizenship education. It is funded by the Belgian development cooperation and coordinated by the Belgian Agency for development. Its field of action is formal education. 

The programme:

-    Provides various pedagogical tools (games, web documentary, pedagogical file, etc.); 

-    Supports teachers and future teachers in working with pupils on worldwide citizenship ; 

-     Give access to an online inventory of pedagogical resources on worldwide citizenship (exhibitions, educative websites, etc.) 

-    Organises a call for projects addressing schools in the field of worldwide citizenship education. 

This programme has existed since 1997 at the initiative of the former Minister of development cooperation. 

Worldwide citizenship education supports young people in understanding the world, developing their critical thinking, etc. It includes 8 topics: 

1.    Sustainable development ;

2.    Diversity and intercultural activities ; 

3.    Peace and conflicts ;

4.    Democracy and citizenship ; 

5.    Social justice ;

6.    Migrations ;

7.    Human Rights ;

8.    Trade and consumption. 

  • At French-speaking community level

The decree of 24 July 1997 on the missions of school (art. 6§3) declares that one of general objectives of education is to prepare every pupil to be responsible citizen able to contribute to the development of solidarity and democratic society, pluralist and open to other cultures

Global issues are not covered as a separate subject in upper-secondary school. They are taught as cross-disciplinary subjects according to the Minister of education in the brochure “be and become a citizen”. 

According to the decree of 12 January 2007 on education of citizenship, a commission of experts (universities, upper-secondary school teachers) has been charged by decree to write a document named “Be and Become a citizen”. It addresses teachers of upper-secondary schools.  This pedagogical tool gives references to understand the civil and political society.  It also provides teachers with pedagogical tools and evaluations. 

The decree of 12 January 2007 on education to citizenship defines, in the brochure 'be and become a citizen', a minimum of 12 topics which must be addressed in classes: 

1.    The funding’s of democracy, the principles Citizenship and democracy; 

2.    Organisation and development of European and International Institutions; 

3.    Division of the state and description of State’s Institutions ; 

4.    Organisation of power as defined by the Belgian Constitution; 

5.    Organisation and functioning of legal system;

6.    Humans Rights and civil liberties;

7.    Human Rights and the rights of the children; 

8.    Governmental and non-governmental institutions which ensure their respect;

9.    International humanitarian Right;

10.    Social protection and citizenship; 

11.    The functioning and the role the medias; 

12.    Sustainable development including green consumption.

According to the article 10 of the decree on citizenship education of 12 January 2007, the content of this brochure must be integrated in the programme as transversal subjects.

The French-speaking Community encourages practices of Education related to Environment and Sustainable Development (Ere DD). An agreement was signed between the French-speaking Community and the Walloon Region in 2003. Its has been updated in 2012 to integrate the Brussels Region. This agreement aims at sharing power and responsibilities to exercise competences of each structure in order to promote and develop education related to environment, nature and sustainable development and to place in the wider education purpose of responsible citizenship.

In the context of non-formal learning

  • The French-speaking Community, through the Youth Department, recognises and funds youth organisations and youth centres. As explained in chapter 1, the main goal of youth association is to make young people active, responsible and critic citizens living in solidarity (CRACS). Therefore, their action focus, among other things, on raising youth awareness about global issues. 
  • Many associations play an important role in raising awareness about global issues among young people. They organise plenty of activities in schools or in youth centres. With the support of the Walloon Region, the association COREN organise a call for project "Schools for tomorrow" (écoles pour demain). Pupils are invited to develop an environmental projects in their school on subjects such as lifestyle, eco-consumption, waste management, climate change, water management, etc. At the end of the year, schools receive a certificate ‘school for tomorrow’ from the Minister of Environment.
  • The Youth Forum through its “youth delegates” programme contributes to raising youth awareness about global issues. Youth delegates meet young people in schools, in youth centres, etc. in order to consult young people and raise their awareness about UN topics. They also have a facebook page to disseminate information about their actions, news of UN, information about Sustainable Development Goals, etc. 

  • The International Youth Office also has an important role in raising youth awareness about global issues by funding foreign non-formal education projects based on exchange, cooperation, cultural values. 

    The International Youth Office launches every year since 2012, a call for projects named Humans Rights, Social Rights”. This project addresses young people from 15 to 30 years old or youth workers working with young people on the “Human Rights” topic. It funds mobility projects which focus on the discovery, the understanding of others countries Human Rights realities. This exchange project between at least 2 youth groups (one from the French-speaking Community) aim at fostering at international level creative or discovery activities on the Human Rights topic. The projects are funded for a maximum of 5 500 euros with a compulsory co-funding of 10 %. The International Youth Office pays particular attention to vulnerable young people. The International Youth Office will grant more attention to projects which address the migration and refugee’s topic.

    ​The International Youth Office also organises an annual call for projects “European citizenship”. The objectives of this call are to raise awareness of young people on aspects of global society and to increase their identity as European citizenship. 
  • Public bodies such as Brussels environment, the Walloon Agency for Air and Climate or the Walloon public administration for sustainable development, fund many projects to raise young people awareness about environmental issues. For instance, the Walloon public administration for sustainable development funds since 2011 the action 'generation zero watt challenge' (défi génération zéro-watt). The goal is to develop pedagogical activities and learning about energy consumption. Pupils will try to reduce the energy consumption of their school by 10 %. It addresses (pre-)primary schools. It is funded by the Walloon Region and the European Leader Fund. 
  • The French Community is engaged in a 4-year EU programme aiming at providing opportunities for young people to engage at the local level towards the fulfilment of the sustainable development goals (SDG), while connecting with their counterparts across different regions in Europe. Through the Mindchangers project, youth will actively engage with local authorities and civil society organisations on matters such as the climate crisis and migration which are at the centre of this initiative.

Educator’s support

-    The brochure 'be and become a citizen' is a pedagogical tool which gives references to understand the civil and political society. It affects global issues as defined in the decree of 12 January 2007 related to the strenghtening of education to responsible and active citizenship within schools. It also provides teachers with pedagogical tools and evaluations. 

-    Regarding sustainable development, the education's website “” provides “activity notes”. They are adapted for each school degree. They offer to teachers ideas on how to introduce and teach sustainable development at school. A working group composed of French-speaking Community’s education inspectors have created these “activity notes”. It is part of a larger initiative which aims at strengthening the importance of learning about sustainable development at school. 

-    The website of the federal programme “Show the hand” (annoncer la couleur) disseminates information and pedagogical resources on worldwide citizenship education (see above). 

- Many associations offer pedagogical support to teachers and youth workers. For instance, the association Training and Education Sustainable Development (Education et formation développement durable), created in 2014, promotes and integrates sustainable  development and education to sustainable development in formal, non-formal and informal education structures at local, regional, national and international level. They promote and disseminate the tool 'sustainable development notebooks' (les cahiers du développement durable). This cross-secoral tool is financed by the Walloon Region. 

Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues

Brussels environment established an exhibition on environment in XXIst century's cities: Bel expo. The exhibition has been conceived for youth from 8 to 14. Importance place is given to interactive and pedagogical games. 

Information providers

In the Region of Brussels, the main public information provider regarding environmental issues is Brussels environment. It addresses everyonne including young people. It develops many actions including the provision of pedagogical tools to support education on global issues. As explained in the previous section, the Brussels Minister for Environment and Quality life funded an exhibition on environmental issues. 

In Wallonia, the Walloon public administration of sustainable development is one of the main information provider regarding environmental issues. It addresses everyonne including young people. It funds the sustainable developments notebooks which are described above

The Walloon Agency for Air and Climate is also an important stakeholder. Among other missions, it develops tools to understand better the challenges and the the stakes related to environmental issues.  For instance, it has developed an interactive webtool 'My2050' which offers to everyone the possibility to create its own transition scenario and to see in an interactive virtual landscape the options to reduce gas emission, to calculate the decrease of gas emission by 2050, and to consult the outcomes of this virtual scenario. Teachers are provided with pedagogical material to ensure animation in classes (from second stage of secondary school). It has also developed a pedagogical kit addressed to teachers and pupils from technical education. Activities proposed in this kit can be teached in geography, citizenship eductaion, etc. 

Within the French-speaking Community,  schools, youth associations  are main stakeholders to raise youth awareness about global issues.

Associations are an important ressource to provide information about global issues (youth information centres, thematic associations, etc.). 

For instance, through its website, the "Idée" Network (Réseau Idée) offers teachers, facilitators, trainers, eco-advisers, parents, citizens ... clear and centralized information on ErE: existing educational tools, environmental education organizations active in Wallonia and in Brussels, their activities (events, training, courses, walks ...), educational approaches, etc.

Key initiatives

The main key initiatives to disseminate information on global issues are made through the work of schools, youth organisations, youth centres. This is a continuous work.