The Basque Country is a territory that is open and interconnected with the world, and which has achieved a considerable level of wellbeing. Our environment has become a place of uncertainty and profound transformation, which is changing quickly. There are threats which may bring into doubt our level of competitiveness and wellbeing, but there are also opportunities which we must leverage to improve our future situation. A short-sighted dynamic could lead us to react to each challenge individually, overlooking the relationship between them and the need to seek sustainable systemic solutions.

Positioning ourselves in response to this reality is our individual responsibility and requires a level of complex, yet necessary, cooperation. As a research institute, Orkestra seeks to provide rigorous, data-based analyses to support making these decisions with the best information possible. Consistent with our mission, the Competitiveness Report is an assessment of the situation with regard to the factors affecting the competitiveness and wellbeing of the Basque Country. It has been published since the institute was created in 2006.

Beyond the periodic assessment, there are spheres and trends which require indepth analysis. One of these spheres is based on the premise that territories which have skilled people are more competitive and achieve higher levels of wellbeing. In line with this, as a new feature this year, the Competitiveness Report for 2019 includes a topic-specific report on skills as a resource, both individual and collective, with which we must equip ourselves in upcoming years.

The debate around skills is a complex one, affecting individuals, firms, societal stakeholders, the education sector, public decision-makers and society as a whole. The Competitiveness Report 2019 Are skills the panacea? deals with this debate and provides analyses that help to tackle the structural changes on the way.

With these two reports, Orkestra seeks to serve as an agent of change, using research to make the Basque Country more competitive and boost socioeconomic development, thus fostering wellbeing among its citizens. Our commitment is to continue generating knowledge to tackle the challenges in our territory and contribute to the overall debate around competitiveness and socioeconomic development.

Lastly, I would like to highlight the work and commitment of everyone who forms part of and works with Orkestra. The institute would not be possible without our sponsors, who accompany and support us, and provide support for this open initiative, which works for our society. We hope to live up to the trust placed in our efforts by socio-economic stakeholders and Basque society in general.

Iván Martén Uliarte
Orkestra-Basque Institute of Competitiveness
Deusto Foundation