Partnership and participation for a sustainable tomorrow

Support UN

The SUPPORT project has received funding from the EU Comenius Lifelong Learning Programme 2007-2013. The responsibility for this information lies solely with the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training. The EU Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency is not responsible for any use that may be made of this information.

General Description of the Project

The goal of the SUPPORT project is to promote and enhance the quality of education for sustainable development by linking schools, research institutions and communities in a web-based network.

SUPPORT will generate and spread knowledge about four main ways to enhance the quality of education for sustainable development: schools collaborate with other schools, schools collaborate with local communities, schools collaborate with research institutions and these kinds of innovative collaboration are facilitated by ICT tools.

Country: Institution: Link:
Norway The Norwegian Directorat for Education and Training
(applicant  institution)
Norway The Norwegian University of Life Sciences
(coordinating institution)
Austria Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture
Austria Austrian Institute of Ecology (AIE)
Austria FORUM of Environmental Education
Austria Kirchliche Pädagogische Hochschule
Belgium VZW In-service training of the catholic Education
Germany State authority of teacher education
Germany Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
Germany InWEnt - Internationale Weiterbildung und Entwicklung gGmbH
Estonia NGO Ökokratt
Greece National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Spain Balearic Islands University
Spain Autonomous University of Barcelona
Finland Finnish National Board of Education
Hungary Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development
Hungary Hungarian Society for Environmental Education
Hungary Institute of Ecology and Botany of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Netherlands Codename Future
Norway University of Bergen, Centre of Schools’ Science Education
Norway Lillehammer University College
Norway The Ideas Bank
Romania Healthy Environment Regional Organisation “Hero”
Romania Licee Pedagogique Mihai Eminescu
Sweden Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation
Slovenia The National Educational Institute
Slovenia The Educational Research Institute
UK Field Studies Council
UK MF Associates
UK School of Education, University of Wales Bangor
UK Nottingham Trent University

Review from the project leader Astrid Sandås

The objectives of SUPPORT were to promote and enhance the quality of ESD. The concept of sustainable development is multifaceted and ESD is challenging. ESD requires knowledge and insight into several disciplines together with various types of skills and not least attitudes of solidarity with all people living today and in the future.

Mainstreaming ESD is demanding for the different layers of the educational sector; at the international policy level, the national policy level, the teacher training level, the level of headmaster of schools as well as at the teacher and student level. Although a lot of work has been done at the policy level, there is a gap between policy and practice.

The aim of SUPPORT was to develop knowledge about the constraints for implementing ESD at various levels, and to evaluate how we could approach these challenges through networking. 31 partner organizations, comprised of national educational authorities, teacher education institutes, educational research institutions, scientific research institutions and non-governmental organizations from 15 European partner countries and seven member countries joined SUPPORT. The networking encompassed partner meetings, conferences, workshops, reports as well as internal and external evaluation. Two different websites were developed: and The first is mainly aimed at internal project work, while was developed for teachers and students.

The SUPPORT approach to ESD revolves around the ideas of partnership and participation. To support schools in implementing ESD, SUPPORT developed a tool where schools are encouraged to collaborate and create partnership through a web-based network. One important product in SUPPORT is the CO2nnect activity. From the launch of the site in March 2009 until October 2010, CO2nnect was used by 644 schools with 2279 classes from 44 different countries; 31 815 students had uploaded data onto the website1. The story of CO2nnect and the lessons learned is described in detail by Faye Benedict in an evaluation report2. In her report it is explained that CO2nnect was conceptualized and intended to be an innovative instrument to promote and mainstream ESD in education systems, in 3 senses:

  1. As an example and prototype of new kinds of learning and learning arenas capable of producing the diverse learning outcomes of ESD (theory),
  2. As a way to quickly introduce concrete ESD activities and educational approaches in large numbers of schools internationally (practice), and
  3. As a tool to support long-term school development and informing development of favourable framework conditions for ESD in education systems (policy).

The development of CO2nnect was an innovative process and the evaluation challenge was to extract lessons about ESD educational theory, practice and policy for all the arenas of the learning processes.

Learning outcomes for pupils and schools as reported by teachers consistently correlated with the intensity of collaboration between the school and agencies outside the school. Outcomes in several areas of skills, abilities and personal attitudes and values tended to be more challenging to achieve, and more responsive to the degree of collaboration, than outcomes in the areas of understanding of complex issues and awareness-raising. The CO2nnect tool facilitates such collaboration by

  1. Creating a learning arena for school-school and school-research collaboration on the internet, and
  2. Providing a framework of scientific activity and school guidance to help schools construct local learning arenas based on school-community collaboration.

As a coordinator of the Support network I have learnt that working together in a European partnership is demanding, but also inspiring and rewarding. The benefits are that it is possible to test one’s own understanding of complex issues and the challenge that communications can be difficult. When people from different cultures, with different educational backgrounds meet and take part in discussions, several interesting situations can emerge. Sometimes you think that a common understanding has been reached; however, in-depth reflection shows that we still may actually have very different views. Alternatively, it turns out that in spite of different cultures, language and working methods; you realize that we have the same opinion when it came down to reality. These differences in approaches to ESD in the consortium among the cultural variances became gradually an element of strength in the network, and led to a more thorough understanding when processing the overall impressions and inputs from all the events. We learnt that different stakeholders have to use different approaches depending on their position within the country.

Four booklets have been produced: one about Biodiversity in ESD shows how education about biodiversity and ESD can be supplementary. It also focused on Internet communication tools used in ESD. An other is about Collaboration in ESD is about how schools can collaborate with local stakeholders and science institutions in ESD. The book is based on collected examples on ESD in schools and the objective of the book is to explore and reflect on how external relations and collaborations in ESD are arranged and function in practice. Two smaller booklets about use of ICT in ESD are also developed.

All the events from SUPPORT are documented and the results are found on the SUPPORT web-site, and on SUPPORT-Publications A Database with SUPPORT publications - available for downloading read more SUPPORT web-site The website for the SUPPORT project Final report on SUPPORT (EACEA) LLP final report assessment sheet ASA1.pdf