Global citizenship education

A challenge for adult learning and education

Global Citizenship ALE

Since 2019, the work of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) has included a renewed focus on citizenship education with a particular emphasis on global citizenship education. Global citizenship education (GCED) is a strategic area of UNESCO’s education programme. Its work in this field is guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably Target 4.7 of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on education, and the Education 2030 Framework for Action.

Global citizenship responsibilities apply to all individuals, and invite them to assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and resolve global challenges and, ultimately, become proactive contributors to a more just, peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable world.

While some progress has been made in promoting GCED in schools and formal education, GCED is comparatively neglected in adult learning and education (ALE). This was confirmed in the findings of UNESCO’s fourth Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 4), published in 2019, which recorded a very low participation of adults in citizenship education, including  GCED. The report stressed that greater acknowledgement of the role of citizenship education in adult leaning and education is needed for realizing the 2030 Agenda.

UIL activities

Addressing global citizenship education in adult learning and education

A joint project on GCED in ALE was conducted by UIL and the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Centre of Education for International Understanding (APCEIU) in 2019. The project’s objective was to promote and better understand the role of GCED for youth and adult learners. A series of thematic and country case studies were commissioned to showcase GCED and identify good practices. A selection of these background papers can be found on this webpage. The output of this first step was a summary report on Addressing Global Citizenship Education in Adult Learning and Education. The report stresses the role of adult education in empowering individuals to build just and sustainable societies. It highlights the critical importance of access points, such as cultural centres and libraries, in strengthening GCED opportunities for adults.

Thematic papers

Case studies

Fifth UNESCO Global Report on Adult Learning and Education

UIL is currently preparing the fifth edition of the Global Report on Adult Learning and Education (GRALE 5). The report will combine survey data, policy analysis and case studies to provide policy-makers, researchers and practitioners with an up-to-date picture of the status of ALE in UNESCO Member States, together with a review of citizenship education, including global citizenship education. It will provide recommendations for strengthening developments in ALE and for promoting active and global citizenship. GRALE 5 will be launched at the seventh International Conference on Adult Education (CONFINTEA VII) in Morocco in 2022.

UNESCO learning cities

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC), coordinated by UIL, works with its members in a particular cluster on GCED. Cities of this cluster are committed to developing or further improving relevant lifelong learning policies and strategies aimed at promoting global citizenship and to design and/or reinforce initiatives for implementing policies and strategies related to global citizenship.