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EACEA National Policies Platform
Greece

Greece

9. Youth and the World

9.4 Raising awareness about global issues

Last update: 17 January 2023

Formal, non-formal and informal learning

The Environmental Education Centres   (ECE) are a network of public educational structures of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs focusing on environmental education and its support at local, national and international level. The basic content is related to the following fields:

  • Ecology and Environment
  • Natural Resources, Sustainable Management and Sustainability
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystems
  • Atmospheric Pollution and Climate Change

The institution of ECE, which is supervised by the Foundation for Youth and Lifelong Learning, has as its goal the environmental awareness of students, their participation in improving the quality of life, the holistic view of the environment, as well as the training of teachers and educators in environmental issues.

Three international Environmental Education and Sustainability Education programs operating in the form of a network are the following:

The aforementioned educational programs are approved by the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, while at the same time they are harmonized with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

 

Golden-green Leaf

The program ‘’Golden-green Leaf’’  conducted between the Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth of Cyprus is a transnational (Greece-Cyprus) environmental network founded in 1994 and for the 28th year it runs programs with the main goal of education for sustainability.

 

Youth Assemblies

The Youth Assemblies on Climate Change are experiential actions that constitute part of the Arsinoe program funded by the European Commission (Horizon 2020), which seeks, among others, to bring scientific knowledge closer to society, to encourage the involvement of stakeholders and citizens in strengthening resilience to climate change through holistic approaches and promoting innovations. The program involves 41 partners from 15 different countries coordinated by the University of Thessaly. By organizing Assemblies for students and pupils, the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) seeks to open new channels of communication with the new generation, which not only needs to be heard more about climate change but also has a saying in decisions concerning its own future.

The first Assemblies were organized online on 5th & 6th May (Students’ Assembly) and 12th & 13th May 2022 (Pupils’ Assembly). Students and pupils from Athens area were invited to record the challenges for their area, discuss with their peers from other areas and propose solutions. The participants measured their carbon footprint and recorded the vulnerability of their region, the existing measures that deal with climate change and adapt to its inevitable effects proposed specific actions, negotiated and concluded through a structured dialogue in policy proposals for the formulation of a Green Deal for the Municipality of Athens and for the Metropolitan area of Athens (Local & Regional Green Deal).

The proposal of the Youth Assembly with the participation of students, held on May 5th-6th, 2022, is reflected in the text  Shaping a Green Deal for Athens . Accordingly, the results of the Youth Assembly, which concerned middle school and senior high school students, are recorded in the text of proposals entitled We Discuss about Climate Change in Metropolitan Athens and Suggest Solutions  .

 

Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature (HSPN) is the oldest non-governmental organization with the mission of protecting Greek nature and raising awareness among Greeks regarding natural heritage.

Today, its actions focus on five main axes: environmental interventions, nature protection projects and programs, environmental education with five Panhellenic Networks approved by the Ministry of Health, sustainable management in tourism sector, and public awareness.

Environmental Education and Education for the Environment and Sustainability provides students with: a broad field of knowledge in different fields, skills, opportunities for equal and inclusive participation, contributes to changing attitudes and behaviors towards the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and prepares them to face the challenges of tomorrow.

In order to accomplish its mission, it relies on an extensive network of scientists, members and volunteers, as well as educators who participate in environmental education programs.

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature actively supports the country's primary and secondary education teachers in the implementation of Environmental Education and Sustainability Education programs.

 

Network of Higher Education Institutions for Sustainability

The online meeting of the "Network of HEIs for Sustainability" for the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals, was held under the coordination of the General Secretariat of Higher Education.

Two working groups were formed:

  • The purpose of the first working group is to draw up the proposal for the revision of the Charter of Universities for Sustainability, following the relative authorization of the Network by the 98th Rectors' Meeting in December 2021
  • The purpose of the second working group is to prepare guidelines for the axes for Sustainability in the strategic planning of universities, in view of the conclusion of programmatic agreements of the institutions with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

The presentation of the updated Sustainability Charter of Greek Universities took place on the 5th and 6th of October in the context of the 9th Conference on Environment and Education, which took place in Nicosia with the participation of more than 80 Ministers of Education and Environment from Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Their main focus was the compliance with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and especially those related to Education, the updated Charter includes integrated interventions that constitute part of the following four axes:

  • The planning of education and research to promote Sustainable Development
  • The implementation of appropriate principles, methods and practices that promote Sustainability within Universities
  • The strengthening of relations between HEIs with society at local and international level and
  • The necessary changes for all of the aforementioned changes in the University administration.

The Charter also includes the proposals: the "National Sustainability Threshold" defined as a commonly accepted set of Sustainability criteria, which are proposed to be met as a minimum by all academic institutions of the country, as well as the establishment of the Network of Greek Universities for Sustainability/Sustainable Development as an inclusive and interdisciplinary forum.

 

Educators Support

The World’s Largest Lesson is available on the QualityNet Foundation website. The specific program is the official introductory material regarding the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, acknowledged by the UN. It is an educational material that is available worldwide and aims to contribute to awakening, informing and educating students aged 6 to 15 on the issues of the Global Goals, shaping the active citizens of tomorrow. It is developed by Project Everyone, with the support of Unicef and Unesco and it has reached over 130 countries and millions of children since 2015. The QualityNet Foundation in exclusive collaboration with Project Everyone undertook for Greece the translation and promotion of the educational material for the 17 SDGs in Primary & Secondary Education schools with the approval of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

In the framework of the Conference of the Future of Europe, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs created an educational platform-simulation of the platform on the Future of Europe. The aim of the website was for Primary and Secondary school students to have the opportunity to formulate and publicly post their proposals. The topics covered the whole range of global issues:

  • Climate change and the environment
  • Health
  • Stronger economy, social justice and jobs
  • The EU in the world
  • Values and rights, rule of law, security
  • Digital transformation
  • European democracy
  • Immigration
  • Education, culture, youth and sports
  • Other ideas

The proposals of young people were expressed through texts of 1000 words and were posted on the online website. The specific initiative is coordinated by the General Secretariat of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The proposals of the students are publicly posted and accessible to anyone interested through the special website and are sorted by editorial group (school unit) and the proposal title.

 

Law 4823/2021

The Law 4823/2021 establishes the Education Centers for the Environment and Sustainability. The Education Centers for the Environment and Sustainability have as their mission:

  • The support of school units in topics related to environmental education, with an emphasis on ecology and sustainable development
  • The interconnection of the educational community and the local society, to ensure the sustainable management of the environment and the emergence of sustainable solutions to local issues

 

Their role is educational, scientific and research, and in order to fulfill their mission they exercise, indicatively, the following responsibilities:

  • They support the school units regarding: the preparation and implementation of an educational action plan for environmental education, ecology and sustainable development, the participation of teachers and students in European programs, as well as in local, regional, national or international networks regarding environmental education, ecology and sustainable development
  • They prepare and implement educational programs and actions for students and teachers
  • They adopt and promote communicative and teaching approaches and promote cooperation with the local community
  • They produce educational material in printed or digital form for school units They collaborate with Universities to develop research actions and educational activities
  • They organize days, events and scientific conferences and participate in European and international programs related to environmental education, ecology and sustainable development

The QualityNet Foundation is a non-profit organization specializing in Sustainable Development. It supports the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the development of networking and dialogue, information initiatives, educational and scientific work as well as supporting Organizations towards the adoption of Sustainable policies.

An important initiative of the QualityNet Foundation is the education and formation of the active citizens of tomorrow. The initiative concerns Primary and Secondary education, having trained 1,450,000 students in all regions of Greece in 4,500 school units. 50 thematic educational programs have been developed, as well as 11 subsidized educational programs, 3 digital educational platforms, 10 awakening festivals, the Culture & Education Center "Land of the Best", 9 school competitions, information actions for the child and the family, the educational platform for the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals in action for a better world-We create a better world! and the Panhellenic Bravo Schools Competitions   in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs.

WWF is the largest international environmental protection organization, with more than 5 million members worldwide, with presence in more than 90 countries, while supporting 100 environmental conservation and restoration programs around the world.

Having nature and man as the center of its action, it organizes campaigns to raise awareness and attract citizens, especially young people.

In addition to its actions, it provides rich educational material aimed at teachers of all levels, animators, researchers, and all those interested in educating citizens, young and old, regarding the major environmental issues of our era. The Environmental Education team that designs the material also conducts workshops in schools and other settings of formal and informal learning, collaborates with teachers and shares their knowledge in teacher seminars and workshops.

 

Youth-targeted information campaigns on global issues

There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for youth engagement in global issues. Nevertheless, in Greece there are many institutions and organizations, which provide through initiatives a framework for informing, raising awareness and engaging young people about problems such as Sustainable Development, Climate Change, Human Rights, etc.

In March 2021, by the decision of the Prime Minister Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, a committee was established with the aim of Drafting the National Strategy for the Equality of LGBTQ+ ( Section 5.5). As the European Commission's announcement on LGBTQ Equality 2020-2025 typically states: "Discrimination, violence and hatred against LGBTQ people are against the fundamental values of the European Union and must disappear." Given the experience of other countries, but also taking into account the special characteristics, the structure and the operation of the Greek administrative machinery, it is considered appropriate that the competent governmental structure that will be established should, during the first phase of its operation, be under the Presidency of the Government.

 

Local Conference of the Youth

The Local Conference of the Youth (LCOY) is an event under the umbrella of UN YOUNGO, the official youth body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its aim is to act as a space for youth to become active in climate change issues at a local level, so that they can contribute to the respective international conferences. It is literally the local version of the international conference of youth (COY), which takes place immediately before the annual United Nations climate conference (COP).

These conferences act as platforms so that the views of young people on climate to be heard in many countries of the world. In Greece, LCOY was organized by the British Council, the British Embassy in Athens and WWF Greece and young people from AIESEC Greece, Ecotivity School, UN SDSN Youth Greece and The Land Beyond. The purpose of the organization was:

  • To emphasize the need for urgent action on Climate Change
  • To inspire the next generation of environmental leaders
  • Lead to a range of Climate commitments and actions

 

Greek Action Week for the 17 Goals

From September 17th to October 8th, 2021, the week of action for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals was organized. The last week of action focused on the axes of Health, Green Development and Justice (Health, Green, Just), on which the recovery plan for the post-Covid era should be based. QualityNet Foundation is the coordinator of the week, while the participation concerns institutional and business bodies, the academic community and civil society.

On the special website of the week of action, the ways regarding the participation of the school community (teachers, male and female students) are described. New participants have the opportunity to participate by developing an one-week action plan for the 17 SDGs. Guidelines about the tools and methods that students can use are provided through the special website and specifically concern:

  • Actions for the Climate
  • Gender Equality
  • Action for Nature
  • Social Justice

 

Greek Library of Goals

The initiative in action of the Quality Net Foundation aims to create the Greek Library of Goals, taking into account the characteristics and priorities of Greek society and at the same time the necessity of information and training on specific issues from the official bodies. Through the official website, information, teaching material, comprehensive educational programs, teachers' suggestions and others, are provided for each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of the creation of the Library is the cooperation with teachers, organizations and institutions for the further development of the library.

Poll:  ‘’What do young people think about climate change’’     

Through the U-Report Greece initiative, a poll was conducted with the aim of capturing the opinion of young people regarding climate change. The results will help Unicef ahead of the 27th UN Climate Change Conference. Young people aged 14-25 can register on the U-Report Greece platform and answer the poll by sending the word ΚΛΙΜΑ (in Greek) or CLIMATE, via Viber, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. They are then asked to answer questions. The poll will be conducted simultaneously in more than 40 countries, through Unicef global platform U-Report, and the responses of young people in Greece will be included in the responses of the global community of U-Reporters, aiming at highlighting the effects of climate change on young generations and promoting children and young people's messages in the run-up of the COP27 Conference.

 

Information providers

There are many who spread information about global issues among young people in Greece. These are:

• Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs

• QualityNet Foundation

 

Key Initiatives

In the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe, the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs created an educational platform-simulation of the platform on the Future of Europe. The aim of the website was to offer Primary and Secondary school students the opportunity to formulate and publicly post their proposals. The topics covered the whole range of global issues:

  • Climate change and the environment
  • Health
  • Stronger economy, social justice and job posts
  • The EU in the world
  • Values and rights, rule of law, security
  • Digital transformation
  • European democracy
  • Immigration
  • Education, culture, youth and sports
  • Other ideas

The proposals of young people were expressed through texts of 1000 words and were posted on the online website. The specific initiative is coordinated by the General Secretariat of Higher Education of the Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. The proposals of the students are publicly posted and accessible to anyone interested through the special website and are sorted by editorial group (school unit) and the title of the proposal.