CCE Country Profile


Table of Contents

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I) Climate change context

Romania is a presidential republic comprising eight development regions, and was established with law no. 315/2004. Situated in southeastern central Europe, it has a population of 19.2 million (2021) and the country’s area spans both within and beyond the Carpathian Arch. The total length of Romania’s border is 3,149.9 km, of which 1,085.5 km is land and 2,064.3 km is river and sea, and the land area contains a high diversity of vegetation.

Romania’s climate exhibits transitional temperate continental characteristics, marked by the interplay of western oceanic, southwestern Mediterranean, and northeastern continental influences. The country’s diverse climate patterns are further shaped by geographical factors such as the position of the Carpathian Mountains, elevation, and proximity to the Black Sea. According to the World Bank Knowledge Portal, Romania experiences rainfall around the year, with peak temperatures and precipitation during the summer months from May to August. The average temperature of the country, comprising coastal, plain areas, and mountains, varies between 2–3 degrees Celsius in the mountains and 11–12 degrees Celsius in the plains.

The country is susceptible to a range of climatic challenges, including droughts, elevated temperatures, prolonged heat waves, intense precipitation, landslides, earthquakes, and floods. In specific regions, river runoff and amplified demand resulting from both economic expansion and rapid population increase result in increased likelihood of more frequent droughts. The energy sector is the highest emitting sector, followed by agriculture and industrial processes and product use.

The Carbon Atlas states that Romania’s per capita emissions were 4.1 tCO2 in 2021, which is one of the lowest per capita greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. However, when assessing emissions in relation to economic output (measured as tons of emissions per €10,000 of GDP), Romania ranks among the highest in the EU. Romania joined the European Union in 2007, and it forms a part of the European Union’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2020).

The country signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an Annex 1 Country in 1992 and was the first Annex 1 country to ratify it in 1994. Romania ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and accepted the Doha Amendment in 2016. The country signed and ratified the Paris Agreement in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

II) Relevant government agencies

Climate change

The responsibility for addressing climate change in Romania is shared between the Romanian Government and 42 local government authorities (including Bucharest). 

The Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests is the lead agency for the national government’s responses to climate change and aims to provide a clean and healthy environment, protect nature, and increase the quality of life through green economic development. According to Governmental Decision (GD) no. 43/2020, the Ministry is the competent authority to ensure the fulfillment of Romania’s reporting obligations in the climate area including on the National Strategy on Education for Environment and Climate Change (2023–2030). The agency is responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of public policies on the environment, water, and forests, and for their alignment with European policies. The Ministry also houses the Action for Climate Empowerment focal point.

The Department of Sustainable Development coordinates activities related to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and works on data integration from various governmental institutions across the country. The Department operates within the Prime Minister’s Office and reports on the formulation, implementation, and localization of SDGs including SDG 13–Climate Action.

The Inter-ministerial Committee on Climate Change of Romania is chaired by the Prime Minister and led by vice-presidents including the head of the Sustainability Department of the Ministry of the Environment, Waters and Forests. The Committee is tasked with analyzing climate actions at the national and sectoral level; they ensure progress toward the international climate commitments by proposing indicators to monitor the achievement of climate targets and chart out appropriate actions. The Committee further analyzes the budgeting of climate change interventions of the countries, and proposes communication messages on climate change and cross-cutting topics.

The Ministry of Development, Public Works and Administration, a subordinate to the Government of Romania and a central public administrative institution, carries out government policies in the field of planning. The Ministry financially supports climate change research projects such as the Transnational Danube Program.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development takes the lead in applying governance programs and strategy, and plays a pivotal role in crafting and executing the national sectoral strategy in agriculture and food industries, rural development, land reclamation, and related fields, emphasizing sustainable management of soil, genetic resources, and the bio-economy. To sustain agricultural research, information, and farm advisory services in agriculture, the Ministry gives research grants to universities and professional organizations for research related to the impact of climate change on agriculture.

The Ministry of Energy applies the Government’s climate change strategy and programs within the energy sector to facilitate the green transition of the country’s economy. The Ministry mainly promotes electricity production from renewable sources and represents the government at international energy-related matters; it also ensures compliance with agreements.

The Ministry of Family, Youth and Equal Opportunities facilitates the execution of the Government’s strategy and policies in domains concerning youth, safeguarding children’s rights and adoption, and fostering gender equality. The Ministry organizes youth and student contests and facilitates alliances and youth councils to ensure that young people participate in the country’s sustainable development.

The Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitization coordinates research and provides financial assistance to several country-level development institutes for national research on water management, climate-related environmental risks, and sustainable planning .

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs implements foreign policy and develops an institutional framework for strategic objectives in the country, including climate change and sustainability.

Education and communication

The Ministry of Education spearheads and manages the national education system and guides education, scientific research, technological advancement, and innovation in collaboration with its subordinate organizations and institutions. The Ministry also focuses on skill building for various aspects of environment and sustainability through endeavours to incorporate thematic content across formal, non-formal, and informal learning platforms. 

The National Institute of Statistics organizes and coordinates transparent, relevant, and autonomous statistics in the country. The Institute also coordinates the implementation of surveys, censuses, and questionnaires to collect, process, and store data. The Institute collaborates with different Ministries to support and ensure the training of the staff involved in statistical activity. As part of its activities, the Institute also informs public opinion and public authorities on the economic and social developments of the country and shares statistical indicators. 

The National Centre for the Development of Vocational and Technical Education plays a role in fostering high-quality and appealing professional and technical education. This education system provides equal opportunities to all students, enabling them to gain qualifications and pursue lifelong learning, ultimately contributing to community development.

Prime Minister’s Decision no.391/2021 established the Inter-ministerial Committee for Monitoring the Implementation of the Educated Romania Project (see below). At the same time, a Working Group for education on climate change and the environment was established. This Working Group included representatives of the Presidential Administration, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests, educational institutions, students, teachers, parents, as well as non-governmental organizations with extensive experience in developing and implementing educational projects on the environment and climate change. The main objective of the Working Group was to improve the quality of education on climate change and the environment by developing a climate education program at the national level. The Working Group targeted pre-university education and widening access to climate change and environmental education, including a series of proposals and concrete measures for the period 2022–2030. 

III) Relevant laws, policies, and plans

Climate change

 Article 35 of the country’s constitution mentions the people’s right to a healthy environment. It emphasizes that the state shall acknowledge the right of every person to a healthy, well-preserved, and balanced environment; provides the legislative framework for the exercise of such right; and binds National and legal entities to protect and improve the environment.

The National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) considers the issue of climate change and environmental protection and emphasizes improving capacity, especially within the agricultural sector. It aims to enhance Romania’s ability to withstand and respond to the threats posed by climate change and natural disasters. This entails incorporating strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation into national policies and planning, as well as elevating climate change education and awareness. Notably, the Strategy underscores the pivotal role of the Romanian educational and training system, deeming it a strategic priority and fundamental prerequisite for effectively implementing sustainable development principles over the medium and long term. 

The National Climate Change Strategy 2013–2020 (2013) focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation to achieve the national objectives, and on collaborative actions through experience and knowledge-sharing among various stakeholders. The strategy recognizes that an increase in the level of climate change information, education, and awareness of citizens is necessary for large-scale climate action and better implementation of policies.

The Romania National Action Plan (2020–2022) (2021) reaffirms the government’s unwavering commitment to an increasingly transparent, accountable, and efficient economy. This entails stimulating civic engagement and leveraging cutting-edge technologies in public administration. Climate change is not included in the plan.

A National Strategy on Education for the Environment and Climate Change 2023–2030 (2023) by the Ministry of Education was approved by the Government of Romania. The document outlines concrete steps to enhance the level of education and awareness among children and youth about sustainable development and their environmental responsibilities. The strategy targets green schools through sustainable infrastructure and a climate-responsible curriculum. This strategic approach to climate change and environmental education encompasses diverse initiatives spanning formal and non-formal education, human resource development, investments, open resources, and collaborative partnerships. This comprehensive effort revolves around four key aims: instituting a National Program for environmental and climate education, endorsing the creation and use of educational materials, enhancing sustainable school infrastructure, and providing training for educators to foster a culture of sustainability. Starting from the 2023–2024 school year, students are set to receive preparatory education to become environmental ambassadors and responsible stewards, emphasizing the importance of environmental awareness and ecological friendliness in the curriculum.

The 2021–2030 Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan (2021), adopted by Government Decision no. 1076/2021, establishes national targets and strategy focusing on public education and awareness generation, specifically targeting reduction in emissions and eco-friendly transport. Similarly, the National Circular Economy Strategy (2022), aims to decouple economic development from the excessive use of natural resources and environmental degradation. The strategy uses awareness and other mechanisms to promote recycling and other waste reduction strategies.

Several other programs are functioning in Romania such as the Sustainable Development Operational Program 2021–2027, the Regional Operational Programs 2021–2027, the Just Transition Operational Program 2021–2027. The programs have larger climate change objectives with a strong focus on the energy sector. Targeted climate change awareness campaigns for waste reduction, efficient use of energy, and flood risks are included. 

The National Recovery and Resilience Plan 2021–2026 (2021) covers 12 priority areas including education. The plan is organized into three key pillars, with the pillar related to transport and climate change further subdivided into five areas of intervention: sustainable transport, climate change initiatives, environmental efforts, energy and the green transition, and energy and thermal efficiency. Further analysis could not be carried out because the full version of the plan was not accessible at the time of this review.

Education and communication

The overarching legal framework governing the administration, structure, and operation of Romania’s educational system is structured by the Constitution (Article 32), the National Education Law (2022, referred to as LNE), and other regular legislation and government decrees. The precise processes and guidelines are delineated through government decisions and directives issued by the Ministry of Education. The law governs the structure, organization, and functioning of the state, private, and denominational national education system. 

Further, Law no. 14/2022 lays the foundations for a national strategy on environmental education and encourages the adoption of environmental skills among students by including them in the national curriculum of primary and secondary education. This Law makes subsequent additions and amendments to the earlier law and stipulates that the Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, will develop an environmental education strategy. 

The Curriculum for Early Childhood Education (2019) aims to update the national curriculum for early education in Romania. The Curriculum describes a child’s capabilities and attitudes toward learning and refers to the various activities in which the child gets involved in learning processes. Interacting with the environment and the people around forms a significant part of the skills development, as outlined in the curriculum.

The primary and lower secondary education National Curriculum outlined in the Teaching and learning in general upper secondary education prioritizes the cultivation of essential competencies, while the high-school education National Curriculum further broadens and diversifies these skills. The curriculum does not explicitly focus on the climate change process, but it incorporates this topic within the broader context of environmental protection and education for sustainable development. This foundational premise shapes the educational profile of a graduating student, which is anchored in the development of key competencies: basic skills in sciences and technologies, digital competence, a ‘learning to learn’ social and civic skills initiative, and entrepreneurship, cultural awareness, and expression. Climate change, environmental and sustainability-related skills were not included. 

The National Youth Strategy 2023–2027 (n.d.) addresses young people as a resource and aims to develop their capabilities as responsible actors, leading to the benefit of their communities. The strategy prioritizes environmental protection and climate change and outlines education and training requirements for transitioning toward sustainable development.

IV) Terminology used for climate communication and education

The national documents of Romania mention ‘education for sustainable development’ most prominently.  Terms such as ‘environmental education,’ and ‘climate change communication and education’ are not specifically mentioned.  The education policies also focus on lifelong learning, development of skills, and key competencies.

The National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) defines ‘education for sustainable development’ as an education that is “based on ethics and has as its goal the development of competencies that enable individuals to reflect on their own actions, taking into account their current and future social, cultural, economic, and environmental impacts” (p. 38). 

The Strategy also mentions that education for sustainable development should become an integral part of all quality education and be inherent to the concept of lifelong learning. 

The National Education Law (2022) defines lifelong learning as,

“All learning activities carried out by every person throughout life in formal, non-formal and informal contexts for the purpose of acquiring or developing competencies from multiple perspectives: personal, civic, social or occupational. The main goals of lifelong learning are concerned with the full development of a person and the sustainable development of society.”

– (n.p.)

In contrast, the 8th National Communication (2022) addresses lifelong learning as education for the environment, sustainability and climate.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests has added a dictionary of terminology to its website where diverse terms on environment and climate change can be found. In particular, ‘climate change’ is defined as,

“A complex process of long-term modification of climatic elements (temperature, precipitation, increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather phenomena, etc.), primarily due to greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, which have determined imbalances in the atmosphere and favoured the triggering of the greenhouse effect.”

– (n.p.)

The National Strategy for Education for the Environment and climate change 2023–2030 defines climate change and environmental education as,

“An education that promotes a sustainable lifestyle through the development of eco-social skills. This type of education has to acquaint young people with the natural and socioeconomic problems caused by climate change, but also with ways to improve the response to them. The goal is to increase awareness of climate change and environmental issues, because children can be both bearers of the message to their families and communities, and directly involved in the actions of stopping environmental degradation. At the same time, education is essential in developing public policies and implementing measures to protect the environment and combat climate change.”

– (n.p.)

V) Budget for climate communication and education

Romania is deeply committed to combating climate change and advancing low-carbon development. The World Bank estimates that the country spent 10.6% of its total budget on education in 2019 and 8.8% in 2020; however, climate change–specific figures were not part of the analysis.

The 8th National Communication (2022) shares that Romania’s financial contributions under its international commitments were US$ 518.35 million (2019) and US$ 1,120.24 million (2020) via multilateral channels. The breakdown of the financial assistance for climate change communication and education is included in the reporting. Under the planned policies and programs to support climate projects in the country, the report includes transportation, construction, waste, water, and agriculture-related projects. Climate change communication and education projects do not explicitly form a part of the planned programs.

Romania received funding for six climate change projects worth US$ 9.79 million under the Global Environment Facility. The projects focus on building energy efficiency in low-income households and operational support for climate grants, and are not particularly focused on climate change communication and education. 

Under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (2021–2026) (2021) US$ 34.26 million worth of investments have been made across 107 streams and 64 reforms, out of which 41% supports climate objectives and 20.5% is committed to foster digital transition. The plan also includes measures to improve the education sectors through a green transition, sustainable and inclusive growth, and social and institutional resilience. An amount of US$ 1.03 billion is allocated for education digitalization to enhance digital pedagogical skills, enrich educational content, and upgrade equipment and resources; there is also a focus on universities. 

Romania’s Climate Change and Low Carbon Green Growth Program, funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, seeks to empower the country in its progress toward achieving the goals outlined in the Europe 2020 Strategy. Further, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has given the green light for a US$ 117 million funding package aimed at bolstering climate change mitigation in Romania, primarily through eco-friendly housing initiatives. Climate change education has not been covered under the financial instrument.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests runs several programs funded by the Environment Fund Administration, including a program to raise education and awareness on environmental protection with a total budget of US$ 56.8 million, of which US$ 32.2 million is budgeted for 2023. Another program is the Green Week national program, launched in 2023, which has a budget of US$ 21.5 million. 

The National Strategy on Education for the Environment and Climate Change (2023–2030) encompasses initiatives funded in compliance with legal regulations and the fiscal-budgetary strategy developed every year. These activities are expected to draw budgets from relevant authorities and public institutions responsible for achieving these objectives. Funding is subject to annual approvals, ensuring effective and adequate allocation of resources through state budget allocations, EU financial instruments, or alternative funding sources. The estimated financial impact is to be detailed in the Action Plan, providing transparency and clarity regarding budget allocations.


I) Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education

The education system in Romania is divided into early, primary, and secondary education and strives to connect education for sustainable development across three dimensions: socio-cultural, environmental, and economic. These topics include biodiversity conservation, environmental protection and improvement, environmental quality, environmental regeneration, and recycling and reuse of materials.

The Curriculum for Early Childhood Education (2019) does not mention climate change and the physical environment in particular; however, it provides an integrated approach to the development of learning abilities, values, skills and attitudes. The Curriculum does include a research assignment of an exploration of the evolution of life on Earth, identifying the factors that sustain life, and the problems of the contemporary world (pollution and global warming). 

Primary education in Romania focuses on developing key skills among pupils such as social, civic, entrepreneurial, and cultural. The natural sciences syllabus of primary education covers topics related to the environment. Curricula and subject-wise syllabi for primary and secondary education were not available in the public domain at the time of the review. 

President Klaus Iohannis’ Educated Romania Project (2018–2030) prioritizes a curriculum and assessment system centred on competencies. Sustaining and developing a network of “Green Schools” is a strategic objective under the Education System Infrastructure priority area, and includes global elements on sustainable development from the Educated Romania Project. One of the Project’s core objectives is to instill competencies that not only promote sustainable lifestyles among students but also bridge the gap between educational objectives and critical public policies. This strategy empowers students with essential skills while emphasizing functional literacy, environmental awareness, sustainability, climate education, health literacy, and societal engagement. 

In 2020, 103,000 students from grades 1 to 8 learned about ways to fight climate change as part of the World’s Largest Lesson. The students acquired knowledge on the responsible disposal of COVID-19 masks and protective gear, subsequently formulating action plans to advocate for environmental conservation within their communities. The children also initiated conversations to address the issue of pollution from improperly discarded personal protective equipment. 

The 2022 Education on Climate Change and the Environment in Sustainable Schools report recommends expanding the reach of climate change and environmental education and entails a comprehensive strategy with specific proposals and actionable steps, spanning from 2022 to 2030. The report states that full implementation of these measures would substantially enhance students’ access to knowledge regarding the drivers of environmental deterioration and the impacts of climate change. Moreover, this approach uses a practical dimension, enabling students to actively engage in hands-on environmental conservation activities throughout their schooling journey.

The National Climate Change Strategy 2013–2020 (2013) encourages sustainable lifestyles, including the use of bicycles and other forms of non-motorized transport for schools. Moreover, the National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) suggests promoting sustainable models of production and consumption through the introduction of good practices in school and out-of-school education curricula. The strategy, which primarily considers enabling access to quality education and schools, also commits to integrating gender responsiveness into school curricula and textbooks.

Further, the Integrated National Plan in the field of energy and climate change 2021–2030 (2020) promises to introduce school programs and courses aimed at understanding climate change, achieving energy savings, and related activities to increase the level of knowledge and awareness of the general population regarding the impact of climate change, energy efficiency, and climate adaptation. 

The National Strategy on Education for the Environment and Climate Change 2023–2023 (2023) emphasizes the essential themes of education for sustainable development, and stresses addressing them in the curriculum at all levels of formal education. 

In Romania, climate change and the environment are addressed in pre-university education, especially in the curriculum programs, at the discretion of the school. In the Core Curriculum for secondary schools, some chapters—such as Energy and Life, Chemistry and Life, and Human and Environmental Health—include general information relating to climate and the environment.

The Ministry of Education initiated programs in 2023 in schools through the ‘Green Week’ national program and the ‘School in a Different Way’ program. The main goal of these programs is to engage students in adventure activities at Adrenalin Park to promote an active, inclusive, sustainable lifestyle in harmony with nature. The two national programs take place in intervals of five consecutive working days and are planned by the schools. A specific Green Week program methodology has been designed, and educational activities are carried out based on the methodology, with a focus on preventing climate change and protecting the environment. Participation in the program is mandatory for both students and educators. These activities can take place within or outside the school premises, as long as they adhere to the legal regulations ensuring the safety of children. As per the guidelines, each school designates a coordination team responsible for organizing the Green Week activities and establishing a schedule. The Ministry is also set to mandate each pre-university educational institution to designate an environmental officer; this will be a valuable step in educating and empowering upcoming generations about sustainable development and fostering awareness of climate change impacts.

According to the 8th National Communication (2022),

“The educational system in Romania strives to connect with the concept of education for sustainable development, with thematic content integrated into formal, non-formal and informal educational systems on the three dimensions: socio-cultural, environmental, and economic, such as: biodiversity conservation, environmental protection and improvement, environmental quality, environmental regeneration, recycling and reuse of materials.”

– (p. 275)

The Communication also mentions, 

“The integration of sustainable development principles into initial education and training systems (pre-university, university, and post-secondary education) is achieved at the level of the developed learning instruments and methodologies, by raising the awareness of environmental protection, pollution prevention and control, biodiversity conservation.”

– (p. 267)

II) Climate change in teacher training and teacher resources

Teaching and learning mechanisms are outlined for both primary and secondary education in Romania, while the teachers are responsible for choosing the method of teaching: oral communication, practical, or exploratory methods

As part of the World’s Largest Lesson funded by UNICEF, a total of 5,460 educators spanning numerous schools across the country orchestrated engaging sessions with their students centred on combating climate change from November 11 to 29, 2020. In this edition, the focus was directed toward a pertinent environmental concern: addressing the rise in pollution attributed to the disposal of COVID-19 protective items such as masks, gloves, and visors.

Romania’s National Recovery and Resilience Plan (2021–2026) (2021) mentions training of teachers to develop their managerial skills and skills required for a green transition. Further, the National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) emphasizes the modernization of the education system by adapting novel methods of teaching and learning through the use of information technology and increasing the quality of education. Climate change or sustainability-related education were not explicitly mentioned. 

In parallel to the Green Week program, Săptămâna verde was created, which is an online platform to provide teachers with a series of informative materials and ideas for activities and awareness. The portal is in continuous development and recommends activities to teachers so that they are not limited to the proposed resources. The teachers are encouraged to identify different types of complementary activities at the local level.

III) Climate change in higher education

Higher education is categorized into three distinct streams—vocational and technological education, professional education, and post-secondary education—each tailored to specific specializations and qualifications. Romanian universities offer a range of environmental and sustainability courses across various higher education programs.

The Babeş Bolyai University offers a diverse academic landscape including a comprehensive environmental science program and 85 research departments. The university offers a Bachelor’s program in science with a focus on management and environmental audit, along with a Master’s program dedicated to sustainable development and environmental management. The Research Center for Sustainable Development holds membership in the United Nations Organization’s Network for Sustainable Development Solutions, emphasizing the university’s commitment to advancing environmental education and research in a global context.

Similarly, the University of Bucharest offers Bachelor’s and Master’s programs focused on environmental science and its application in sustainable development within the Faculties of Biology and Geography. The university houses research centres, including the Systemic Ecology, Eco-diversity, and Sustainability Research Centre within the Faculty of Biology, as well as the Centre for Environmental Research and Impact Studies in the Faculty of Geography. 

Further, the Polytechnic University of Bucharest and the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine offer a robust array of educational and research opportunities centred around environmental issues, climate change, and sustainability. The Polytechnic University provides Bachelor’s and Master’s programs in engineering, environmental protection, and environmental management. Additionally, the Faculty of Energy offers Master’s studies in environmental management and sustainable development, operating the Centre for Energy Research and Environmental Protection. 

The University of Agronomic Sciences conducts Master’s programs in sustainable agriculture and  has a dedicated Research Centre for Sustainable Agriculture. Students can pursue Bachelor’s studies in engineering and environmental protection in agriculture, as well as Master’s studies in engineering and environmental protection in rural areas. The university also hosts doctoral programs in areas such as sustainable rural development and the influence of climate change on agriculture, fruit cultivation, and viticulture, highlighting the commitment of the university to addressing environmental and agricultural challenges.

Ovidius University of Constanta organizes Bachelor’s studies in environmental science–ecology and environmental protection and Master’s programs in the fields of biodiversity conservation, and in environmental impact analysis and assessment. The University of Petroșani offers a Bachelor’s program in engineering and environmental protection in industry and a Master’s program in environmental quality control and monitoring, and in environmental management and protection. It also offers postgraduate courses for re-skilling in the fields of ecological education and environmental protection. The University further supports studying, teaching, and researching responsible consumption and production in an integrated European virtual campus until 2040, contributing to Sustainable Development Goals.

The 8th National Communication (2022) mentions that higher education programs are underway to promote energy efficiency, information centres, and new training course models for universities.

IV) Climate change in training and adult learning

In Romania, technical and vocational education and training encompass professional education, technological high-school education, and post-secondary non-tertiary education. To incorporate sustainable development principles, the Romanian government is refining learning tools and methods while increasing awareness about environmental preservation, pollution mitigation, and biodiversity conservation. 

The National Institute of Statistics presented the Adults in Education (2022) document outlining issues on the participation of adults in lifelong learning based on a statistical report conducted in 2016. Some topics covered in the document included access to information on learning opportunities and participation in formal, non-formal, and informal education. To support the statistical report and the Adults in Education documents, 7.235 million people were surveyed, representing 65% of the adult population. According to the results, in 2016, 61% of adults in Romania wanted or felt the need to participate in formal or non-formal education. However, details about the types of programs that interested people were not specified. However, because they are built on the idea of lifelong learning and underlining the equal right of both genders to participate in training programs, the policy priorities for adult education and training do not specifically include climate change, environment, and sustainability.

The Civil Society Development Foundation, a think tank in Romania working with the communities on social cohesion and inclusion conducted training sessions to introduce the concept of permaculture to preschoolers. The Foundation also developed resources to introduce climate change skills to vulnerable communities and to the general public on the prevention of food waste and sustainable project management.

The National Lifelong Learning Strategy 2015–2020 (2015) aims to strengthen participation in lifelong learning and improve the relevance of education and training systems for the labour market. The Education and Training Strategy in Romania for the period 2016–2020 (2015) presents a coherent approach for an initial and continuing vocational training system for the labour market. Both strategies do not include environment and sustainability as their priority areas.

The National Climate Change Strategy 2013–2020 (2013) emphasizes professional training of municipalities, government representatives, and companies on energy efficiency, and training courses on climate-resilient agricultural methods for farmers and representatives of institutions. The Strategy further targets citizen-training programs that promote climate adaptation projects at the local level. Additionally, the Strategy discusses strengthening institutional capacity by creating a specialized department within the relevant ministries and creating capacity-building programs for farmers and agricultural specialists on adaptation and mitigation of climate change in agriculture and the rural environment and the use of renewable energy sources: biomass, biofuels, bioliquids, and biogas.

Furthermore, the National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) recognizes the importance of vocational training programs, and promotes plans to modernize educational infrastructure, establish a regulatory framework, and expand facilities for lifelong learning to keep up with the demands of the labour market. However, climate change–related training programs are not specifically mentioned.


I) Climate change and public awareness

The National Climate Change Strategy 2013–2020 has the pillars of education—access to information and raising awareness—that are key to improving behaviours and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country and allow adaptation to climate change. The Strategy underlined awareness-raising as a mechanism to encourage people to practice activities such as cycling, agricultural management, and industrial mitigation. In addition, the Strategy asks for the cooperation of public authorities with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, the academic sector, and civil society to raise awareness and increase the will to act and effectively adapt to the effects of climate change.

The National Strategy on Education for the Environment and Climate Change 2023–2030 (2023) will increase the level of education and awareness of sustainable development and environmental responsibility among children and young people. According to the Ministry of Education, environmental and climate change education in the country seeks social change through public awareness and concrete actions, and aims to build a sustainable future.

The National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) indicates that recently, environmental awareness has risen significantly in Romania. The Strategy states that protecting the environment is everyone’s responsibility, given the reciprocal impacts on humans and the environment. Thus, this recognition is an opportunity for citizens to raise their awareness of that responsibility.

Romania participated in the Eurobarometer 2023 on Climate Change, in which 1065 people were interviewed with questions regarding climate change affairs. Romanian interviewees were asked if climate change is the single most serious problem that the world is facing. Around 54% of the participants considered climate change to be a very serious problem, 30% that it is a fairly serious problem, and 13% that it is not a serious problem.

According to the 8th National Communication (2022), the priority actions that the country should pursue are campaigns to raise awareness and inform target groups, and media campaigns to inform the public. These activities are supported through various partnerships from public authorities and civil society organizations. The National Communication mentions that multiple projects, events, and actions to raise awareness were developed during 2016–2020, including campaigns in the countryside, nationwide recycling patrols among schools, education, and information sessions.

A 2023 article from the European Investment Bank (EIB) Climate Survey, shows an awareness of climate change by Romanian people. The survey demonstrated that 69% of Romanians are in favour of stricter government measures to allow individuals to fight climate change. In addition, 80% of Romanians aged 20–29 say the climate impact of prospective employers is an important factor when job hunting, with 36% considering it a top priority. According to the survey, 62% of Romanians would be in favour of a carbon budget system to set a cap on the most climate-damaging consumption, 71% of Romanians say they would pay more for climate-friendly food, and 82% are in favour of labelling all food to help limit the impact on climate and the environment.

II) Climate change and public access to information

In Romania, the National Climate Change Strategy 2013–2020 highlights the production of scientific knowledge as key to facing climate change. The strategy mentions that research and academic institutions will facilitate access to data that will benefit adapting to the effects of climate change and planning climate policy in the country. The Strategy states that partnerships among research and academic institutions and the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests will ensure access to information, maintaining a flow climate change data.

The Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests offers general information related to the environment, including themes on climate change, sustainable development, and natural resources. The Communication section on the Ministry website posts news, informative materials, legislation, videos, photos, daily reports, and a dictionary of terminology that includes terms such as adaptation, greenhouse gas emissions, sustainable development, global warming, green economy, and climate change. In addition, the Ministry dedicates a section of the website to Climate Change where people can find general and national information, information on climate legislation, and a Climate Initiatives section that reports collaborations and projects in fields such as environmental and climate change education.

Multinational initiatives such as the European Climate Adaptation Platform Climate-ADAPT offer a variety of information on climate change affairs regarding Europe, such as expected climate change in the continent, region vulnerabilities, European Union national and transnational adaptation strategies and actions, case studies, potential adaptation options, and tools that support adaptation planning. Climate change information about Romania can also be found on this website, including national circumstances, assessments, national legal frameworks, strategies, national initiatives, monitoring, and evaluation. 

The National Meteorological Administration contributed to the report on the state of the climate of Europe in 2022, developed under the coordination of the World Meteorological Organization and the Copernicus Program of the European Union. Also, the National Meteorological Administration has added information to the annual reports on the global state of the climate developed by the World Meteorological Organization.

The 8th National Communication (2022) indicates that the Working Group Report targets pre-university education and robust climate change and environmental education through concrete proposals for the period 2022–2030. Once these initiatives are implemented, students are expected to have more access to information about the factors leading to environmental degradation and climate change.

Further, the 8th National Communication (2022) highlights the great work of several non-governmental organizations and civil society to raise awareness of climate change in Romania. For example, the Civil Society Development Foundation, which runs STIRI NGO, offers information on education and the environment on its website. The Organization offers key information that encourages people to participate in activities, raise awareness through campaigns, and improve behaviours related to environment protection and conservation.

III) Climate change and public participation

In Romania, the Political Constitution (2003) emphasizes increasing public participation among children and young people. Article 49 subsection 5 states, “The public authorities are bound to contribute to secure the conditions for the free participation of young people in the political, social, economic, cultural and sporting life of the country.” The National Youth Strategy 2023–2027 mentions that Romania has the lowest level of youth participation among the European Union Member States, including participation in decision-making processes. In contrast, participation in voluntary activities in Romania is within the EU average.

Romania’s Climate Change and Low Carbon Green Growth Program funded by the World Bank and implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests seeks to empower the country in its progress toward achieving the goals outlined in the Europe 2020 Strategy. The components include building a strong knowledge base for impact assessment and climate-related decision-making, as well as enhancing implementation capacity through identifying carbon trading opportunities and developing a system to monitor and verify progress.

The Educated Romania Project (2018–2030) is the largest and longest-running public consultation on public policy in education and its plan outlines strategic objectives and targets.

The Transparency Section of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Forests website is open and accessible to the public. Users can find legislation about anti-corruption, participation guidelines, national strategies, and public consultation announcements. For example, in May 2023 the National Flood Risk Management Strategy in the Medium and Long Term was posted and the Ministry requested comments and suggestions from the public.

Active participation is a priority for Romania. The 8th National Communication (2022) states that the role of civil society is greatly defined and consolidated—in terms of information, education, involvement, and awareness—through active participation of non-governmental organizations and campaigns that are directed to the general public. In addition, the National Communication mentions how the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forest has collaborated with the Ministry of Education to publicly publish the draft of the National Strategy on Education for the Environment and Climate Change 2023–2030 so people could provide feedback and recommendations.


I) Country monitoring

The National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) proposes the objectives and targets necessary to build a sustainable society. As part of this Strategy, the National Institute of Statistics updates a set of national indicators to measure the implementation of the sustainable development objectives. In 2008, the Institute created the Database–Sustainable Development Indicators in Romania

According to the Database, the main function of the indicators is to meet the monitoring requirements expressed by the National Sustainable Development Strategy of Romania for 2030 (2018) and to support the Strategy commitments and objectives. The Database offers information on climate change and clean energy and monitors emissions by sector, energy dependency, and energy consumption per inhabitant. In addition, the Database includes information on education and vocational training by monitoring public expenditure on education and the total employed population, among other data. 

As part of the project Sustainable Romania, the country has built and implemented an open-access portal that integrates statistics specific to sustainable development to evaluate and monitor the progress of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the portal database, the monitoring of SDG 4 tracks progress made in promoting and increasing basic education, tertiary education, and adult education. The monitoring of SDG 13 follows the progress in climate mitigation efforts, reducing climate impacts, and supporting climate action. One of the indicators available for SDG 13 is the “total and share of the population covered by the new Covenant of Mayors per member state, as a ratio of the population of signatory cities in a country to the total population of that country.” (n.p).

According to the SDGs Voluntary National Review (2023), in 2022 the National Institute of Statistics, the Department of Sustainable Development, the Consultative Council for Sustainable Development, and other specialists provided data to monitor progress made in Romania’s Sustainable Development Strategy implementation. As a result, 291 National Indicators for Sustainable Development were created, as well as a guide for public authorities to monitor and report progress. Some of the indicators that have been developed are “companies that offered continuous professional training,” “expenditures for environmental protections,” and “the number of dead and injured persons attributed to natural disasters, per 100,000 inhabitants.” These statistical data are accessible on the National Institute of Statistics platform. No specific indicator for climate change education has been developed at the time of this review. 

Romania’s Environmental Performance Review (2021) conducted by the United National Economic Commission for Europe, outlines that the National Air Quality Monitoring Network has increased the number of stations in Romania, but gaps remain concerning the appropriate methodologies. In contrast, the Review also mentions that the National Forest Inventory does not represent a census of all trees in Romania because of financial and logistical setbacks. The environmental statistics produced by the National Institute of Statistics are made publicly available online on the Institute’s website. However, time series data are not regularly updated. 

According to the Environmental Performance Review (2021), some of the most important environmental priorities for Romania are 1) streamlining and stabilizing the environmental legal and policy frameworks and monitoring and reporting on their implementation; 2) enhancing open access to environmental information; and 3) guaranteeing effective public participation in decision-making on environmental matters and advancing education for sustainable development in practice. 

The Romanian Statistical Yearbook (2023), published by the National Institute of Statistics, contains information on the socio-economic development of Romania. The data include key information about the population, education, science and technology, agriculture, and the economy of the country. The Yearbook also presents the tracking done in partnership with the National Environmental Protection Agency of the country’s environmental protection expenses.

The National Institute of Statistics keeps track of the number of children, youth, and adults enrolled in each grade in schools that are part of the National Education System, including pre-primary education, basic education, post-secondary non-tertiary education, tertiary education, vocational education, and upper secondary education. Through this analysis, the country also tracks teaching staff, the dropout rate, and the budget allocated to education. 

Romania participated in the PISA Competence Study in 2018. According to the study, 60.9% of 15-year-old students in Romania claim to know about climate change and 39.7% of students believe they can explain the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and climate change without assistance.

The 2022 Education on Climate Change and the Environment in Sustainable Schools report, initiated by the President of Romania, proposes the following measures for better quality of climate education and communication in schools: updating school biology programs to include the environment and climate change; developing a dedicated web platform; promoting good practices and actions for the environment; initiating a teacher-training program and course materials on the environment and climate change; and rewarding teaching staff who are involved in environment and climate education.

II) MECCE Project Monitoring

The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the Curriculum for Early Childhood Education (2019) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’ 

‘Climate change’ is mentioned in the Curriculum for Early Childhood Education (2019) once. ‘Environment’ and ‘sustainability’ are mentioned one time each, and ‘sustainability’ is mentioned once. ‘Biodiversity’ was not mentioned in the Curriculum.

The Romanian School Curriculum for the elective subject Ecological Education and Environmental Protection (2022), available to students in grades 5, 6, and 7, was also analyzed by the MECCE Project for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’ The term ‘climate change’ is not mentioned in the document. The term ‘environment’ is mentioned 14 times. The term ‘sustainability’ is mentioned 1 time. The document does not mention the term ‘biodiversity.’

This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.