DEAR: Development education and awareness raising: concept English (en) Deutsch (de) español (es) français (fr) português (pt)

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Development education and awareness raising (DEAR) aims at informing EU citizens about development issues, mobilising greater public support for action against poverty, providing citizens with tools to engage critically with global development issues and foster new ideas, and changing attitudes. The dedicated DEAR programme is powering this drive. It is implemented by civil society actors and local authorities in EU and acceding countries.

In this sense, DEAR should be considered as an integral part of EU development assistance. The Declaration of the European Parliament of 5 July 2012 on development education and active global citizenship calling the Commission and the Council to develop a long term, cross-sectoral European Strategy for Development education, awareness-raising and active global citizenship is a timely reminder of its importance.


The DEAR programme is taken forward primarily through actions implemented by non-state actors and local authorities in the EU and acceding countries. Its objectives are to:

  • inform EU citizens about development issues and foster awareness and understanding of global development and recognition of interdependence;
  • mobilise greater public support for action against poverty and fairer relations between developed and developing countries;
  • change attitudes, provide the European public with tools to engage critically with global developments and support the emergence of new ideas on development issues.

The European Commission has been playing an important role in facilitating dialogue among DEAR policy-makers and practitioners, fostering capacity development among DEAR partners and supporting capacity development and networking activities of the EU-funded DEAR projects. The Commission is also encouraging the Member States to move from project-level coordination towards policy coordination.

To achieve these objectives, the DEAR programme focuses on two lines of action:

  • Global Learning, to foster knowledge and competences to engage with development issues, through the use of participatory and experiential education methodologies, either within or outside the formal education system;
  • Campaigning & Advocacy, where the objective is to support citizen involvement and advocacy for more sustainable policies, political and economic structures and individual practices, in relation to global development.

The projects financed through the programme reach various target groups:

  • pupils and students (from primary, secondary and higher education),
  • youth (young people in formal and informal groups: cultural organisations, out-of-school groups, etc.),
  • consumers,
  • teachers (all levels),
  • decision makers (members of national parliaments and ministries, members of the European Parliament),
  • journalists,
  • the private sector (small, medium-sized and large businesses and other commercial organisations),
  • non-governmental organisations
  • local authorities (municipalities, province, etc.)
  • schools
  • universities/academic bodies.

While these actions are carried out in Europe, cooperation with development stakeholders in developing countries is encouraged.

The specific objective of the DEAR programme is to develop European citizens' awareness and critical understanding of the interdependent world and of their role, responsibility and lifestyles in relation to a globalised society. In addition, it supports the public’s active involvement in global attempts to eradicate poverty and promote justice, human rights and sustainable ways of living. EU-funded DEAR projects cover a wide range of development issues and contexts. Between 2005 and 2009, they addressed more than 60 topics. Although most focus on a major theme, many projects tackle additional aspects. In terms of campaign and advocacy work, the three mains topics of DEAR in 2010 were poverty, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and development policies.

Graph 2005 2009.png Main themes explored by EU-funded DEAR projects between 2005 and 2009

Source: DEAR in Europe: Analyses and Consultations: Annex A of the DEAR Study Final Report (2010)


The EU co-finances DEAR projects, with a budget of approximately €30 million per year, through the thematic programme ‘Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development’. The next DEAR call for proposals is planned for the autumn 2013.

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Between 2007 and 2012, DEAR reached an estimated:

  • 11.6 million students
  • 6.6 million young people
  • 5 million consumers
  • 82,000 teachers
  • 80,000 decision makers
  • 78,000 journalists
  • 60,000 private companies
  • 26,000 NGOs
  • 15,000 local authorities
  • 8,000 schools
  • 170 universities/academic bodies

Staff Working Document : 20-12-2012

The present Staff Working Document takes stock of EU-funded DEAR activities managed and implemented by the European Commission through its Development and Cooperation Directorate-General. It is mainly based on the outcomes of the DEAR Study , and of several evaluations carried out on the subject. It also presents recent developments and the results of DEAR workshops held in the framework of the "Structured Dialogue for an efficient partnership in Development".

This Staff Working Document was shared with the Council and the European Parliament on December 20th, 2012. It will also feed the forthcoming Commission proposal for a renewed DEAR strategy, to be developed in the framework of the Civil Society and Local Authorities Thematic Programme for 2014-2020.

Speech of Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs - 2011

Development Education & Awareness Raising Study - 2010

The European Commission has commissioned a study on the experience and action of the main European actors active in the field of Development Education and Awareness Raising: the DEAR Study. The Study aims to lead to recommendations that improve the complementarity of future EC initiatives to the programmes of the Member States and of other major initiatives in the field of DEAR.


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