Sustainable Development Programme

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.

Climate Action

We encourage innovative practices in the transition to more sustainable production and consumption patterns which minimise the use of natural resources, reduce the adverse effects of climate change, and contribute to carbon neutrality.


We promote scientific knowledge and public awareness of the ocean’s role in sustainable economic development by supporting research, ocean-based climate solutions, and projects that use blue biotechnology to tackle social and environmental problems.

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.

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