Sustainable Development Programme

2020 – 2022

The Gulbenkian Sustainable Development Programme aims to help build a more cohesive society that offers equal opportunities and actively promotes the well-being and quality of life of vulnerable groups, while ensuring environmental protection and economic sustainability.

The concept of sustainable development, as established in Our Common Future, a report published by the UN in 1987, defines a new development horizon that will enable us to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were identified for the first time, setting 17 universal targets to address the urgent social, environmental and economic challenges that impact the planet globally.

Committing to achieving these goals necessarily implies a new approach to how we live and rethinking the responses to social needs and environmental challenges, without losing sight of economic prosperity. This change can only happen through innovation, with more sustainable business and investment models, and the development of new skills and leadership.

With this programme, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reaffirms its commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals and, in this regard, its role in Social Cohesion, Climate Action and Oceans, promoting cross-cutting innovative tools to address social and environmental challenges.

Social Cohesion

We test more efficient and effective solutions to meet the needs of the most vulnerable groups in the population. In this context, we focus on: children and adolescents, seniors, migrants and refugees.


We promote climate action, contribute to the appreciation and protection of the Ocean and invest in innovative practices in the transition to more sustainable production and consumption patterns, in response to the state of emergency in which the planet finds itself.

Impact Investment and Innovation

Innovation and new financing models are common to all activity under the Gulbenkian Sustainable Development Programme. We test and favour working in the following fields:


Technologies for impact;

Art and Community;

New skills and leaders;

New financing instruments.


See all the grants of the Sustainable Development Programme.

Find out more


For further information, please contact us at [email protected]

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