Global Awareness In Action

Global Awareness in Action (GAIA) is an international project that brings together multi-stakeholder teams from the cities of Malmö in Sweden, Newcastle in the United Kingdom, and Nieuwegein and Utrecht in the Netherlands to try out new working methods and learn from each other. The project has developed innovative examples of how urban areas can respond to the twin challenges of unsustainable development and growing inequalities. The goal of the project is to develop new methods and partnerships in order to achieve behavioural changes in sustainable actions among the citizens in the four European cities. It aims to empower local authorities, NGOs, academic institutions, educators and businesses to engage urban citizens to take actions for tackling global challenges.

We hope that this webpage for working with multi-stakeholder collaboration and behavior change will inspire not only the project’s city teams and stakeholders, but also many other readers in their future work.

“GAIA is about expanding your comfort zone and making some magic!”

The ultimate goal of GAIA is to contribute to sustainable development. The project sets its overall objective to empower local authorities and non-state actors when working to raise awareness and engagement among the actors and citizens.

Four European cities, with long experience of working with education for sustainable development (ESD) and Fair Trade Town campaigns collaborated to figure out – how could we do this in a new way? How do we improve at promoting behavioural change towards a more sustainable lifestyle? How can we improve our work, so that more citizens are encouraged to take concrete actions to tackle development challenges?

Throughout the three years, the four European cities have been working hard to form local teams and tackle this task from different angles and perspectives. The project aimed to:

  • Engage people from more social sectors as active advocates of local actions for global development;
  • Improve target groups’ knowledge and pedagogic competences in ESD, in particular to address the global, social aspects of sustainable development in relation to Fair Trade;
  • To enable target groups to develop new tools to effectively implement initiatives for behaviour change;
  • To inspire more businesses and individual consumers in the involved cities to support sustainable development through Fair Trade and undertaking actions reducing their global footprint.


Lead partner: City of Malmö (Sweden)

Partner cities: Utrecht (Netherlands), Newcastle (Great Britain), Nieuwegein (Netherlands).

Research partner: SWEDESD, Uppsala University (Sweden)

Final beneficiaries: Residents in partner cities.

The GAIA project is funded by EuropeAid and runs from 2013-2015.


Global Awareness in Action, GAIA, is an international project that has run from 2013 until end of 2015. GAIA’s aim was to facilitate for actors in target cities to find ways to develop their work with education for sustainable development, reach new target groups and mobilise informed public to change behaviours.

GAIA - Global awareness in action. Design by Azote