Political education for sustainable development

Funding initiative to communicate the connections and interdependencies of economic, social, cultural and ecological dimensions

The currently prevailing way of life and economy leads to a permanent transgression of planetary guard rails. To meet these challenges, we need a sustainable change in society. The question of how it can be possible to support people in this transformation process, for example. by strengthening the necessary skills and abilities requires innovative ideas at all levels and thus also cooperation between different disciplines. This funding initiative focuses on education for sustainable development (ESD) and civic education, because the success of the desired “Great Transformation” requires not only ecological awareness, basic scientific knowledge and critical consumer behavior, but also knowledge and the ability to analyze global and local contexts as well as social, political, economic and ecological developments and the ability to orientate, criticize, judge and act politically in order to enable a participatory and democratic shaping of the transformation process.

Both education for sustainable development and civic education require a high degree of participation and research-based learning. Both approaches are characterized by self-reflection, a change of perspective, networked and systemic thinking and thus by the development of skills towards a responsible and sustainable society. However, these existing points of overlap have not yet been addressed either in educational policy or academically, and there is a lack of innovative and exemplary educational concepts and practical examples that integrate sustainability issues more strongly into civic education and political aspects more strongly into sustainability education.

To help close this gap, the DBU launched a funding initiative on civic education for sustainable development in 2022, which will support projects dedicated to linking the two educational concepts. The funding initiative also aims to communicate the interrelationships and interdependencies of economic, social, cultural and ecological dimensions that steer individual and societal actions in a sustainable direction. The aims are to develop suitable educational formats to promote dialog skills for a policy- and democracy-based transformation of society, to facilitate professional and political discourse on sustainability issues and to open up opportunities for participation in decision-making processes in the context of ESD and global learning. The initiative’s target groups are young people and young adults, sustainability and political education stakeholders, as well as colleges and universities.

Dr. Steve Kenner from Weingarten University of Education is leading a DBU-funded project to support the funding initiative by establishing a specialist forum on “Political Education, Transformation and Sustainability” with the aim of an interdisciplinary exchange on political issues in the discourse on political education for sustainable development (more on the project: www.polbnt.de). The aim is to overcome the boundaries between individual disciplines and to network academics and practitioners. Numerous experts from various fields are working together to develop the idea of political education for sustainable development and transformation, which successfully combines these central educational tasks.

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Projects of the funding initiative

Ongoing projects (in German language)

Completed projects (in German language)


Dr. Thomas Pyhel
DBU: Umweltkommunikation und KulturgĂŒterschutz, Internationale Förderung: Informelle Bildung und Medien
+49 541 9633-432
Melanie Vogelpohl
DBU: Umweltkommunikation und KulturgĂŒterschutz, Internationale Förderung: MINT-Bildung und Nachhaltigkeitsbewertung
+49 541 9633-410
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