What is global citizenship education?

Global citizenship education (GCED) aims to empower learners of all ages to assume active roles, both locally and globally, to face and help resolve global and local challenges, and to become proactive and responsible contributors to more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive and secure societies.

It nurtures respect for all, a sense of empathy and belonging to a common humanity.

GCED is based on the three domains of learning – the cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioural.

  • Cognitive: knowledge and thinking skills necessary to better understand the world and its complexities.
  • Socio-emotional: values, attitudes and social skills that enable learners to develop affectively, psychosocially, and physically and to enable them to live together with others respectfully and peacefully.
  • Behavioural: conduct, performance, practical application and engagement.

The key learning outcomes, key learner attributes, topics and learning objectives suggested in GCED are based on the three domains of learning mentioned above. They are interlinked and integrated in the learning process and should not be understood as distinct learning processes.

GCED is one of the strategic areas of UNESCO’s Education Sector programme for the period 2014-2021.

UNESCO’s work in this field is guided by the Education 2030 Agenda and Framework for Action, notably Target 4.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 4 on Education), which calls on countries to “ensure that all learners are provided with the knowledge and skills to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”.