SDGs and the Foundation

In 2015, the United Nations defined the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a common agenda aimed at eradicating poverty and addressing other needs, seeking to combine strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequalities, and boost economic growth, also focusing on climate change and the preservation of oceans and forests.

Aware of the strength of this model, which permits a common language, shared learning, and stronger partnerships between the philanthropic sector, the public sector and the business world, in 2020 the Foundation embarked on a project aimed at understanding how its activities and projects are aligned with the SDG and identifying ways of measuring this alignment.

This was pioneering work in the philanthropic world, which is why the Foundation chose to work in collaboration with the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA); the institution is recognised for its know-how on the matter and members of its senior team participated in the conceptualisation of the SDG.

It was an exhaustive and cross-cutting exercise in which the RPA worked with all the Foundation’s units to discuss their strategic objectives and action lines and how they are aligned with the SDG. The quantitative (indicators) and qualitative elements that allow this contribution to be measured were determined in this exercise.

Currently the Foundation already points out in its main external publications which SDGs each project and activity is contributing towards, and its ambition is to increasingly strengthen its external reporting, showing how this alignment is being achieved.

Since October 2020, the Foundation has been sharing its results with networks of global philanthropic institutions, notably with the European Foundation Centre, the “Theory of the Foundation” and the Centro Português de Fundações. The Foundation intends to continue to invest in this sharing of know-how and experiences as this will allow it to strengthen its commitment to the SDG, encouraging their adoption, and remaining faithful to both its collaborative spirit and its mission.

In this context, we would like to share with you the main conclusions of the Foundation’s first exercise on SDG, hoping it may be of use to you.


Isabel Mota
President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation


How we aligned the SDGs with our Activity

Currently, the Foundation contributes mostly to SDGs 4, 9 and 11

21% 4% SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being 5% 14% 7% 3% 46%
SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities SDG 13 Climate Action SDG 4 Quality Education SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructures SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being Other SDGs

SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being

Target 3.2: End preventable deaths of newborns and children
Target 3.5: Strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse
Target 3.b: Support the research and development of vaccines and medicines


Projects in the area of Health

SDG 10 Reduced Inequalities

Target 10.2: Promote the social inclusion of all

Social Cohesion and Innovation

Projects with children/young people, the elderly and migrants

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Target 11.4: Preservation of cultural heritage
Target 11.5: Reduce the number of people affected by disasters


Museum, CAM, Libraries and preservation of the Armenian language and culture

SDG 13 Climate Action

Target 13.3: Awareness-raising and mitigation of climate change and its impacts

Climate Change

Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity

Other SDGs

SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructures

Target 9.5: Strengthening scientific research


Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência and projects developed in the Portuguese-speaking African countries

SDG 4 Quality Education

Target 4.7: Culture´s contribution to development
Target 4.4: Increase in qualifications and skills
Target 4.b: Scholarships available to developing countries

Education and Culture

Music, Museum, CAM, Libraries, Cultural Activities, Scholarships and projects in the area of Education

To see more information on how the Foundation contributes towards each SDG put your mouse over each of the graph’s components (or click on it, if you are on a mobile device).

What are the 5 key elements for greater integration and alignment with the SDGs?

To know more