The Basque Government supports the work of Arantzazulab during the visit of the president Iñigo Urkullu to the laboratory’s headquarters


In the visit the Basque Government announced its incorporation as a permanent member of Arantzazulab’s Board of Directors. 

This afternoon, the president Iñigo Urkullu visited Arantzazulab, Arantzazu’s Social Innovation Lab, a reference centre in governance innovation. The purpose of the visit was to present the Basque Government as a new member of Arantzazulab’s Board of Directors and to support the work of the laboratory. During his visit, the president heard about Arantzazulab’s work and walked through the laboratory headquarters, located in the Gandiaga Topagunea centre in Arantzazu (Oñati).

The lehendakari was welcomed by Naiara Goia, Arantzazulab’s Managing Director, who was accompanied by the highest representatives of all the organisations that are members of the laboratory’s foundation Board of Directors: Markel Olano, deputy general of Gipuzkoa’s provincial council; Izaro Elorza, mayor of Oñati town; Jonan Fernández, secretary general of the General Secretariat for Social Transition and Agenda 2030 of the Basque Government; Asier Aranbarri, director of Social Innovation in the General Secretariat for Social Transition and Agenda 2030 of the Basque Government; Joxe Mari Arregi, Minister Provincial of the Franciscan Province of Arantzazu; Zigor Ezpeleta, Director of Social Management of the MONDRAGON Corporation; and Ander Aizpurua, General Director of Kutxa Foundation.

Accompanied by Arantzazulab’s Managing Director, the president Iñigo Urkullu got to know at first hand both the infrastructures and the different workspaces of the Gandiaga Topagunea centre and the team of people who form Arantzazulab. Naiara Goia also presented the strategic framework, the initiatives and the work of Arantzazulab, and the Lehendakari received detailed information on the projects developed and the results obtained by the laboratory since its creation in 2021.

Permanent member of the foundation’s Board of Directors

“Arantzazulab is a melting pot of nature, culture, art, ideas and spirit. It has been a pioneering, bold and innovative space. Basque creators met here to develop progressive artistic and architectural proposals. Here, in 1968, the unification of the Basque language was planned, worked on and detailed. This past feeds the future. Now, here, looking to the future, Arantzazulab offers a space for collaboration, creation and the projection of new ideas. Currently we can find here proposals and tools for transformation: social innovation, social participation or public-private collaboration. Arantzazu is constantly renewing its avant-garde spirit and its passion for innovation and creation. The Basque Government will participate in Arantzazulab to promote and form part of the ‘auzolana’ collaboration between institutions and society. Today, and with a view to the future, I wish the best for the spirit of Arantzazu”, the Lehendakari emphasised. Arantzazulab Board of Directors, at its meeting on the 15th of June, unanimously agreed to the incorporation of the Basque Government into the Board of Directors of the foundation with the following two designated representatives: Jonan Fernández, Secretary General of the General Secretariat for Social Transition and Agenda 2030 of the Basque Government, and Asier Aranbarri, Director of Social Innovation of the Basque Government.

The visit, which has brought together different media, is of “great importance” as it serves to make public the incorporation of the Basque Government into the Board of Directors and symbolises the support to Arantzazulab’s future. For this reason, Arantzazulab’s Managing Director, Naiara Goia, stressed that the visit of the Lehendakari is “a milestone. The support of the Basque Government is key to our strategy, and the importance of being a permanent member of Arantzazulab’s governance structure is fundamental because it gives consistency to the project and gives more meaning to the laboratory’s mission, opening up the opportunity to increase its impact in the Basque society”. Although it has been created and it is located in Gipuzkoa, Arantzazulab has the vocation and vision to work throughout the Basque Country. In this sense, the laboratory already has various projects with public institutions, community stakeholders, research centres and citizens from different territories. Arantzazulab’s mission is to become the most relevant space in the region to develop knowledge in Collaborative Governance with the aim of putting it at the service of the Basque institutional system and society”.

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“The support  of the Basque Government allows us to set up different collaboration projects with the regional government and to strengthen our programme. It undoubtedly makes us stronger as a laboratory. The presence, support, and contribution of the Basque Government in the history of Arantzazulab has been and will continue to be important”, emphasised Naiara Goia. Arantzazulab is positioned as a reference centre for Innovation in Governance (within the framework of the Etorkizuna Eraikiz strategy of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa) and acts as a catalyst for social innovation. Withing the lab’s main objective of deepening and disseminating Collaborative Governance, it is focused on reflecting, researching, and experimenting on new relationship models between public institutions and civil society. The ultimate goal of the laboratory is to disseminate the collaboration culture in society, to turn it into a meeting point for citizens and a place for learning, as well as to offer new tools and knowledge to promote citizens’ involvement and participation in order to collaboratively build a new public agenda.

Arantzazulab is an innovative, transformative, and bold space for research, deliberation, creation, and experimentation, which works with diverse stakeholders, seeking effective collaborations and broad social consensus. In addition to bringing together the concerns and challenges of citizens, the laboratory seeks to add value and be of interest to public institutions and citizens by connecting the knowledge, methods, tools, or ways of doing things that are developed in Arantzazulab with the processes initiated by citizenship, or with the public policies that are developed in the institutions.

In accordance with the values and tradition of Arantzazu, the laboratory is also responsible for promoting the heritage of the Sanctuary of Arantzazu, and for: promoting, facilitating, managing and coordinating its renovation process. In this point, it is also “essential” to have the support of the Basque Government. Likewise, Arantzazulab is fully aligned with the different objectives of the Basque Government and, in particular, with the strategic project associated with the 2030 Agenda.

Collaboration project within the framework of Agenda 2030  

In addition to the main objective of the visit, the representatives of both institutions took the opportunity to present and socialise the strategic project that the Basque Government has set up with Arantzazulab and other reference stakeholders in the Basque Autonomous Community. Within the framework of a strategic process of localisation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Arantzazulab has initiated a few months ago a collaboration project with the Presidency Department of the Basque Government.

As announced in September 2022, the Basque Country will host the global and permanent headquarters of the Secretariat of the United Nations Local Coalition 2030. This decision, in turn, will reinforce an objective that is considered a priority at a global level within the scope of the commitment to the 2030 Agenda: to promote the localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The priority of this global process of localising the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is to embed the agenda in every local and regional government around the world, fostering multi-level government coherence and mobilising multi-stakeholder and multi-disciplinary public-private cooperation for its effective bottom-up implementation.

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Precisely, in order to promote the project within the framework of this local Agenda 2030, the Basque Government’s Presidency Department has created a promoters group made up of: Kutxa Foundation, Arantzazulab, BBK Kuna, Unesco Etxea, Vital Foundation, Alava Alliance for the SDGs, Deusto Cities Lab and Euskalit. Increasing the involvement and co-responsibility of society in achieving the goals set by the 2030 agenda is strategic, and it is aligned with Arantzazulab’s mission. The promoters group is already active and in the upcoming months innovative projects will be implemented. “Participating in the team promoting this project is a strategic opportunity for Arantzazulab, as it allows us to make a valuable contribution to the global process and it provides us international connections“, explained Arantzazulab’s Managing Director.