The Basque Experience: Constructing Sustainable Human Development, Juan Jose Ibarretxe


First of all I have to say this work has been carried out with the intention of settling a moral debt with the Basque People, from whom I have received so much affection and recognition over the last few years after being Lehendakari or President of the Basques from 1999 to 2009. My gratitude to Basque society is infinite. They know many things were done well and some things were done not so well, however, they were always done with awareness of our identity and with the intention of solving problems and making progress. This is how Basque Society has always considered our work, wisely, intelligently, and with deliberation. It is to Basque society itself, before the University or myself, to whom I owe this contribution. This work aims to provide a serious and serene analysis of the legal-political and socio-economic aspects, which, in the efforts to achieve sustainable human development, have been evident in Basque society from the recovery of self-government via the Statute of Gernika in the 1980’s up to today, and specifically in the period between 1998 and 2008, in three relevant but traditionally unrelated fields: economics, social balance and peacemaking. The focus of this research lies in identifying the key factors that made it possible for the Basque Country to become one of the leading nations in the Human Development Index (2007): resilience in the face of an ongoing political conflict dating back to the 19th century exacerbated by the violence of ETA since the middle of the 20th century. These factors and the lessons learned could be particularly relevant to other countries facing serious challenges and aiming to achieve sustainable human development, within the context of their own culture.

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