Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all’ (UN 2015).

Key competencies from 

Issues and trends in Education

for Sustainable Development

A. Leicht, J. Heiss and W. J. Byun (eds

"Systems thinking competency:

the ability to recognise and understand

relationships, to analyse complex systems, to perceive the ways in

which systems are embedded within different domains and different

scales, and to deal with uncertainty;

Anticipatory competency:

the ability to understand and evaluate

multiple futures – possible, probable and desirable – and to create

one’s own visions for the future, to apply the precautionary principle, to

assess the consequences of actions, and to deal with risks and changes;

Normative competency:

the ability to understand and reflect on

the norms and values that underlie one’s actions and to negotiate

sustainability values, principles, goals and targets, in a context

of conflicts of interests and trade-offs, uncertain knowledge and


Strategic competency:

the ability to collectively develop and implement

innovative actions that further sustainability at the local level and

further afield;

Collaboration competency:

the ability to learn from others; understand

and respect the needs, perspectives and actions of others (empathy);

understand, relate to and be sensitive to others (empathic leadership),

deal with conflicts in a group; and facilitate collaborative and

participatory problem-solving;

Critical thinking competency:

the ability to question norms, practices

and opinions; reflect on own one’s values, perceptions and actions; and

take a position in the sustainability discourse;

Self-awareness competency:

the ability to reflect on one’s own role in

the local community and (global) society, continually evaluate and

further motivate one’s actions, and deal with one’s feelings and desires;

Integrated problem-solving competency:

the overarching ability to

apply different problem-solving frameworks to complex sustainability

problems and develop viable, inclusive and equitable solution that

promote sustainable development – integrating the above-mentioned


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