Working Paper Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Global Learning for Sustainable Development: A Systematic Review

Version 1 : Received: 23 September 2020 / Approved: 24 September 2020 / Online: 24 September 2020 (07:59:39 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Nordén, B.; Avery, H. Global Learning for Sustainable Development: A Historical Review. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3451. Nordén, B.; Avery, H. Global Learning for Sustainable Development: A Historical Review. Sustainability 2021, 13, 3451.


Despite continued efforts by educators, UN declarations and numerous international agreements, progress is still limited in handling major global challenges such as ecosystem collapse, accelerating climate change, poverty and inequity. The capacity to collaborate globally on addressing these issues remains weak. This systematic review of research on global learning for sustainable development (GLSD) aims to clarify the diverse directions research on GLSD has taken, to present the historical development of the research area, and highlight emerging research issues. The review summarises key findings of the English language literature in the period 1994-2020 identified with the search terms “global learning” and “sustainable development”, sustainability or GLSD, respectively. The review documented a gradually growing knowledge base, mostly authored by scholars located in the global North. Conclusions point to what we might achieve if we could learn from one another in new ways, moving beyond Northern-centric paradigms. It is also time to re-evaluate core assumptions that underlie education for sustainable development more generally, such as a narrow focus on formal learning institutions. The review provides a benchmark for future reviews of research on GLSD, reveals the emerging transformative structure of this transdisciplinary field, and offers reference points for further research


global learning; global learning for sustainable development; South/North perspectives; sustainability; sustainable development; education for sustainable development


Environmental and Earth Sciences, Environmental Science

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