Mapping education for sustainability in the Nordic Countries: 4.1 Sustainability in Danish educational policy

Ólafur Páll Jónsson, Bragi Guðmundsson, Anne Bergliot Øyehaug, Robert James Didham, Lili-Ann Wolff, Stefan Bengtsson, Jonas Andreasen Lysgaard, Bryndís Gunnarsdóttir, Sólveig María Árnadóttir, Jørgen Rømoen, Marianne Sund, Emelie Cockerell, Paul Plummer , Mathilda W. Brückner

Research output: Book/reportReportCommunication


"This report presents some of the main results of research conducted on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) in the Nordic countries – one of Iceland’s presidency projects for the Nordic Council of Ministers initiated in 2019 under the heading A Common Path (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2018). Iceland’s presidency focused on the UN Sustainable Develop­ment Goals (UNSDGs) with special attention to young people. This was emphasised by the Prime Minister of Iceland and the Minister for Nordic Cooperation who introduced the projects.

The Icelandic Presidency will focus on issues concerning young people in the Nordic region – the generation born around the turn of the century beginning to make its way in life. We want to listen to young people and support projects that promote education, culture and health. (Nordic Council of Ministers, 2018, p. 5)

The project presented in this report concerns the implementation of UN Sustainable Develop­ment Goal 4.7 in compulsory education in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The aim was both to receive an overview of how well each of the Nordic countries had integrated the UNSDGs into their educational policies and practices. There are seventeen UNSDGs; Goal 4 concerns education specifically. The sub-goal on which we focused our research was UNSDG 4.7 which states:

By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed 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.

As one can immediately see, the goal is broad and, therefore, a thorough mapping of its implementation was outside of the present project’s scope. However, we attempt to outline a picture of how things stand in the Nordic countries, looking at legislation, curriculum, teacher education, and local implementation with the aim of identifying a “Nordic Perspective”. We try to bring out not only how things stand in each country, but also to shed light on what is common and where things differ. The more we have worked on this, the more we are painfully aware of how our work does little more than scratch the surface. But in order to go deeper, one has to begin by scratching the surface. We hope that what we present here goes a little further than the bare surface and, more importantly, will help others to continue to dig deeper."
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen
PublisherNordic Council of Ministers
Number of pages81
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-893-6953-4, 978-92-893-6954-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Mapping education for sustainability in the Nordic Countries: 4.1 Sustainability in Danish educational policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this