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In the context of the economic crisis that affected Portugal especially after 2009, and with a higher incidence in 2013, there was a decrease in public investment in the development of public policies.
In recent years, reference documents have been developed that have guided the definition and implementation of public policies and initiatives under global issues, covering a wide range of public and non-public strategic areas and actors.
In September 2017 the National Education Strategy for Citizenship was presented as a result of the proposal of the Education Working Group for Citizenship, which was constituted with the mission to design an education strategy for Citizenship to be implemented in schools.
The goal is to stimulate the development of personal and social skills, with the school being responsible for ensuring an adequate preparation for the exercise of an active and enlightened citizenship.
The strategy is based on the goals undertaken by Portugal under international commitments such as - Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2030) of the UN, or Education for Global Citizenship: preparing learners for the challenges of the XXI century (2014) of UNESCO, among others.
Every school group is responsible for its implementation, while being nationally coordinated by representatives of the members of the Government in the field of education, notably the Secretary of State for Education, and in the field of citizenship and equality by the Secretary of State for Citizenship and Equality, in accordance with the powers assigned to them.
The strategy defines a wide range of thematic areas framed in European goals under the 2030 Agenda, including:
The High Commission for Migration (ACM, I.P.) is the public institute that, under the direct supervision of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, collaborates in the definition, implementation and evaluation of public policies regarding the attraction of migrants, the integration of migrants, including refugees, and Roma communities, and the management and enhancement of the diversity of cultures, ethnicities and religions through the promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. ACM, I.P., is responsible for the coordination of the Strategic Plan for Migration (2015-2020), as well as the National Roma Communities Integration Strategy (2013-2020). Both national plans serve as the basis for guidance in the areas of the integration of migrants, refugees and Roma communities. The measures and the indicators contribute towards an interculturality and social inclusion approach.
Education for security, defence and peace
The Frame Reference of Education for Security, Defence and Peace structures the guidelines of this theme, and it was developed by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of National Defence, through the Directorate General for Education and the National Defence Institute.
Within this scope, the III National Plan of Action for the implementation of the Resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations no. 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security 2019-2022 is highlighted, which strategic objectives are: the protection of the human rights and punishment of all the forms of violence against women; the promotion of the participation of the women and young people in the prevention of the conflicts and in the processes of construction of peace and the integration of the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the civil society organizations’ work.
Education for gender equality and education for human rights
The guidelines for these thematic areas, as well as the measures and programmes that establish the measures and initiatives in the area of gender equality and citizenship, are structured in a wide range of national strategies and plans: the National Strategy for Equality and Non-Discrimination 2018-2030 "Portugal + Equal" [Portugal + Igual] and the VI Action Plan for Preventing and Combating Human Trafficking 2018-2021, both coordinated by the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality. The national strategic vision for Equality and Non-Discrimination 2018-2030, in the long term, is translated into the following three action plans that define concrete measures and targets for the period 2018-2021:
- Action Plan for Gender Equality;
- Action Plan for Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence;
- Action Plan to Combat Discrimination on the grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sexual Characteristics.
The National Strategy for Development Education - Promoting Global Citizenship constitutes a reference document for the intervention in Development Education.
Its design was initiated by the Portuguese Institute for Development Support (IPAD), under the tutelage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which developed it in collaboration with all public and private entities that work in this field, in particular, the Ministry of Education.
In this field, the Camões - Institute for Cooperation and Language is also an agency that is under the tutelage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which plays an important role in the improvement of development education through co-financing a large number of projects and initiatives.
There are a number of key institutions and actors involved in the implementation of these strategic documents.
Environmental education for sustainability
Under the environmental education for sustainability, in the framework of education for citizenship, the National Strategy for Environmental Education also serves as a reference for defining the strategic lines of the thematic area within the scope of the subject of Citizenship and Development.
The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2017-2020 which established a new strategy for Energy Efficiency aims to make energy efficiency a priority of energy policy, considering, on the one hand, that, to date, Portugal does not have endogenous fossil resources or sufficient primary energy purchases to influence market prices (price taker) and, on the other hand, that increases in energy efficiency promote environmental protection and energy security in a favourable cost-benefit relationship.
In addition to the Portuguese Environment Agency, within the framework of the definition and implementation of policies in this field, the following entities have a particular importance: Directorate General for Education; Directorate General for School Establishments and the Institute for Nature and Forests Conversation.
In the field of environmental sustainability, energy efficiency and the Consumption Efficiency Promotion Plan, the following entities are strategic public actors: ADENE - Agency for Energy; RNAE - Association of Energy and Environment Agencies (national network) and the Regulatory Authority of Energy Services.
In the field of sustainable mobility, the Institute of Mobility and Transports, I.P., stands out.
The Portuguese Youth Institute, I.P. plays a transversal role being a key actor in some initiatives, either as a coordinator, partner, or funder.
A group of non-governmental organisations plays a leading role in the streamlining and implementation of initiatives and programmes in the field of sustainable development - whether in the context of non-formal and informal education, or dissemination, information and awareness-raising activities.
In the field of cooperation and development, according to the measures presented below, the following stands out: AIDGLOBAL - Action and Integration for Global Development. In the field of Environment and Sustainability, the following stand out: European Blue Flag Association, ABAE - Environmental Education for Sustainability, GEOTA - Study Group of Spatial Planning and Environment and SPEA - Portuguese Society for the Study of Birds.
A set of strategic documents in the field of Education for Citizenship, as well as the National Plans presented, from their implementation to their establishment, are the result of a intersectoral and inter-ministerial cooperation between public actors in different fields, from Education to Environment, Defence, Equality, Social Inclusion, etc.