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EACEA National Policies Platform


9. Youth and the World

9.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023

Main concepts

Environmental education for sustainability intends to promote values, changes in attitudes and behaviours towards the environment, in order to prepare young people for the exercise of a conscious, dynamic and informed citizenship in the face of current environmental issues.

Intercultural education intends to promote the recognition and appreciation for diversity as an opportunity and as a learning source for all, respecting multiculturality in current societies, as well as developing the ability to communicate and encourage social interaction, creator of identities and sense of belonging.

Education for security, defence and peace intends to reflect, understand and apply the fundamental principles for a good coexistence in democratic societies, which are indispensable to a responsible participation from the citizen, favouring his/her security and the security of others, in a culture of peace.

Education for gender equality intends to promote equal opportunities and educate for the values of pluralism and equality between men and women.  There is an urgent need to develop an effort for the elimination of gender discrimination and, consequently, intimate relationships marked by inequality and violence, constituting as an essential part of the education for human rights, and the respect for individual rights and freedoms following the point of view of building a citizenship for all.

Education for development intends to raise the awareness and promote the understanding of the causes of development problems and inequalities locally and worldwide, in a context of interdependency and globalisation, with the purpose of promoting the right and duty of every person and all peoples to participate and contribute to a full and sustainable development.

Education for human rights intends to promote the development of a civic awareness in the area of Human Rights.

Definitions adopted by the Directorate General for Education in the presentation of the curriculum unit's thematic contents "Education for Citizenship - Citizenship and Development".


Youth interest in global issues

The interest and participation of young Portuguese in global issues, particularly global development and social justice, was monitored in an international study recently published under the project Challenging the Crisis - promote Global Justice and the involvement of citizens in times of uncertainty (Desafiar a Crise - promover a Justiça Global e o envolvimento dos cidadãos em tempos de incerteza), which was coordinated in Portugal by the Marquês de Valle Flôr Institute and funded the European Union and Camões - Institute for Cooperation and Language, I.P.

The survey was applied to 3600 young people between the age of 15 and 34, and was focused on the problems of global justice and development. It was carried out in Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, Spain and Slovenia in order to promote the involvement of young people in campaigns and initiatives related to sustainable development.

Young Portuguese believe that the main causes of poverty in Portugal are social inequalities and the repayment of the debt that Portugal is subject to due to the economic and political context of the crisis.

As to the responsibility to take action against poverty, inequality and injustice, young people in Portugal assign it to international institutions as economic actors, unlike among most young people of other countries, which believe that this responsibility belongs to the Governments of rich countries.

Regarding civic participation, the involvement of young people in non-governmental organisations, youth associations or local movements is little, as is the case in other countries where the survey was applied.  Although there is not a regular participation, most young people claim to have been involved at least once in some kind of solidarity action. In the case of Portugal, young people participate the most in volunteering activities and solidarity campaigns.

Data from a survey carried out in 2015 to young People between the age of 15 and 34 equally shows that the civic participation of young Portuguese is low, with a reduced membership in civil society organisations (Lobo, Ferreira and Rowland, 2015).

In tIn the last Eurobarometer survey on Help and Cooperation for the Development of the European Union (Special Eurobarometer 494, June 2019), the results show that, in Portugal, more than nine of every ten people surveyed believe that helping people in developing countries is important, and that combating poverty must be one of the main priorities of the European Union (77%) and to a lesser extent of the Portuguese government (64%) (Special Eurobarometer 494, Summary).

In the European Union, younger people (15-24 years) have a more positive attitude in regard to the issues of development than older age groups (with 25 or more years); in Portugal the importance of development aid, in the two groups (young and older age groups) are around 98%.

Finally, regarding the personal commitment and involvement in development, 77% of the surveyed Portuguese claims that they might have a role on the combat against poverty in developing countries, being that similar the percentage between young people and other age groups (75%).

In regard to the Sustainable Development Goals under the 2030 Agenda, monitoring the process of implementation is based on a set of statistical indicators that intend to evaluate the achievement of the planned targets in each of the 17 Goals established, under the coordination of the National Statistical Systems.

In the case of Portugal, the National Statistical Institute has been conducting that monitoring in coordination with statistical departments of the Ministries and entities involved in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and Eurostat, while in accordance with the classification system defined by the Inter-agency Expert Group (IAEG-SDG).

According to the National Report on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, most monitoring indicators are not yet available, including those that monitor the targets set for young people.