What is it?
Spain 2050 is a collective intelligence and strategic foresight exercise that pursues two goals:
1.To improve our understanding of the social, economic and environmental challenges and opportunities that Spain will face in the coming decades
2.To generate, through a multi-stakeholder discussion, a shared vision of the country we want to become in the future, so we can set priorities, coordinate efforts, and guarantee the prosperity and well-being of our citizens in the coming decades.
A vision for the future
In the last 30 years, Spain has experienced an outstanding transformation, going from being a low-performance country within the European Union to reach and, in many cases, exceed the EU average in many economic, social and environmental indicators. The question we asked ourselves at the beginning of this project was:
What would we have to do, in the next 30 years, to catch up with high performance countries?
To help us answer this question, we brought together a multidisciplinary team of leading scholars with different ages, genders, academic disciplines and political views. A total of one hundred scientists, economists, geographers, historians, engineers, lawyers, political scientists, psychologists and sociologists that worked with the Office for a whole year, examining the empirical evidence and using it to shed light on Spain's main challenges, both present and future.
The result of this joint effort was Spain 2050: Fundamentals and Proposals for a Long-Term National Strategy, a ground-breaking report that provides:
- A diachronic and forward-looking analysis of nine major challenges that Spain will have to overcome between now and mid-century in order to draw level with the most advanced countries in Europe;
- 200 policy actions to achieve this; and
- A dashboard of 50 quantitative goals and indicators for designing lines of action, taking specific measures, and monitoring progress over the coming years.
Policy actions to overcome them
Access the full report, the executive summary or each specific chapter using the index below:
Index of contents
- Introduction: Towards a Long-Term National Strategy
- Future challenges :
- 1. Be more productive for better growth
- 2. Move to the forefront of education
- 3. Improve training and re-skilling of our population
- 4. Become a carbon neutral and sustainable society that is resilient in the face of climate change
- 5. Prepare our welfare state for a population that will live longer
- 6. Promoting balanced, fair and sustainable territorial development
- 7. Resolve the shortcomings in our labour market and adapt it to the new social, economic and technological realities
- 8. Reduce poverty and inequality and reactivate the social elevator
- 9. Broaden the foundations of our future well-being
- Epilogue: Rediscovering optimism
- 50 objectives for 2050: Table of indicators
- Experts and collaborating institutions
We were very happy with the results achieved. In fact, many authorities and media outlets characterized it as “essential” and “pioneering” at a European level. However, we knew that it was only a first step. The future belongs to everyone –so everyone must be able to participate in its visioning. For that reason, we presented the Fundamentals and Proposals not as a done deal, but as a first proposal that we are now expanding, correcting and improving through a direct and plural dialogue with more than 180 institutions, including autonomous governments, city councils, companies, unions, universities, think tanks, foundations, NGOs, associations and other civic institutions of the country
Our hope is that this multi-stakeholder work will help us to enrich the public debate and, at the same time, craft a shared vision of the country we want to be in 2050.
Frequently asked questions
Spain 2050 was crafted by a multidisciplinary team of experts comprised mostly by scholars from Spanish and foreign universities, although there were also analysts from think tanks, NGOs and institutions such as the Spanish Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF), the Bank of Spain, the European Commission, and the OECD.
They were selected on the basis of two criteria: merit (all of them have a solid track record of publications and/or extensive work experience on the issues addressed) and diversity (members are of different ages, genders, geographical origins, academic disciplines and political sensitivities).
No, they weren’t. All of them worked ad honorem, without any kind of remuneration. The institutions that participated also acted pro bono.
Spain 2050 and the Spanish Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan are two distinct and independent exercises that share a common goal (to boost Spain's economic prosperity and social well-being) and, therefore, that have engaged in intense dialogue during their parallel preparation.
The ideas generated by the experts of Spain 2050 were used to design the Recovery Plan. Likewise, Spain 2050 incorporated the lines of action and financing of the NextGenerationEU and the Recovery Plan. Thus, there is coherence and affinity between the two exercises, although there are also notable differences in their goals, time horizons, contents and work methodologies:
- Goals. The Recovery Plan is a plan of specific, time-bound investments and reforms aimed at recovering the pre-pandemic economic growth path and creating a more modern, fair and sustainable productive model. Spain 2050, on the other hand, provides a strategic analysis of the opportunities and challenges Spain will face over the next three decades and suggests a series of policy actions to guide long-term decision making.
- Time horizon. The Recovery Plan focuses on the period 2021 - 2023, while Spain 2050 focuses on the period 2023 - 2050.
- Nature of the content. The Recovery Plan presents specific and immediate measures. Spain 2050, on the other hand, provides, rather, a framework of analysis to articulate the future conversation with open-ended proposals and broad lines of action.
- Authorship. The Recovery Plan has been prepared by the Spanish Government in consultation with the other administrations and the main social actors, and negotiated with the European Commission. Spain 2050 has been prepared by the National Office of Foresight and Strategy and a group of independent experts, with the support of the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF), the Bank of Spain, and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission.
The UN’s 2030 Agenda and Spain 2050 are two related and complementary long-term strategies.
Spain 2050 finds in the 2030 Agenda one of its main intellectual references. Both a vision of a future guided by the principles of equality, social justice and environmental sustainability, and share many diagnoses and objectives.
There are, however, some differences between them, derived from:
- The time horizon. The UN’s Agenda was signed in 2015 and runs to 2030, while Spain 2050 was presented in 2021 and runs to 2050.
- Geographical scope. The UN’s Agenda was born and designed from a global perspective, while Spain 2050 has a European and national focus.
- Degree of concreteness. The 2030 Agenda gathers 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which sometimes are rather vague and do not always fit well with the Spanish situation, since they were designed to accommodate the realities of 193 countries. By contrast, Spain 2050 includes 50 quantitative goals, designed specifically for the situation of Spain and, in addition to the SDGs, it also takes into account the EU directives and agreements and the convergence trajectories with the most advanced EU countries.
- Content. The 2030 Agenda places special emphasis on environmental sustainability and social issues such as equality, health, decent work, justice, human rights and peace. Spain 2050 addresses these issues, but it also explores questions related to the productive model of our country, human capital, territorial cohesion, the labour market and the challenges and opportunities that megatrends such as digitalisation and demographic aging will pose to our economy and welfare state.
As can be seen, these differences are not discordant and make Agenda 2030 and Spain 2050 two strategies that, far from competing, complement and reinforce each other.
This extra zero is there to remind us of how much time we have left as a species. Sapiens emerged some 300,000 years ago and there is no reason not to believe that they will keep existing for at least another 300,000 years –if we do the right things. Using five-digit dates instead of four is a way to make us think about the many billions of people who will live on this planet after us and the responsibility we have towards them.