Spain’s new Foresight Office Completes its First Big Assignment: a Strategy for Remaking the Country by 2050

Bart Édes
10 min readMay 31, 2021
Photo by Florian Wehde on Unsplash

In January 2020, the Government of Spain established a strategic foresight office at the center of government. The Oficina Nacional de Prospectiva y Estrategia (National Office of Foresight and Strategy) was set up within the cabinet of the Presidencia del Gobierno (Prime Minister’s Office).

The rationale for creating the office was to counter the short-term thinking prevalent in government, and to ensure the future interests of Spain. The office is charged with analyzing empirical evidence to identify possible demographic, economic, geopolitical, environmental, social, educational and other challenges and opportunities that Spain will confront in the medium and long term, and help the country prepare for them.

Since its creation, the office has been primarily focused on the preparation of long-term national strategy, España 2050, which was publicly announced on 20 May 2021 by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

The strategy is presented in a hefty 676 -page report. Its purpose is to improve understanding of major issues issues that Spain will face in the coming decades, and generate a national dialogue on priorities and coordinating efforts needed to ensure future prosperity and well-being.

España 2050 identifies nine major challenges that Spain must address over the next three decades in areas such as climate change, shortcomings in the education system, aging, a shrinking labor force, inequality and depopulation of the countryside.

The report includes 200 proposals for action, as well as some 50 targets and quantitative indicators, to guide Spain toward becoming one of the EU’s most advanced countries, and to track progress along the way. More than 100 experts from various domains contributed to the report’s elaboration.

Following are selected highlights of España 2050.

Shrinking Workforce Threatens Growth

Between now and 2050, the number of people in Spain between the ages of 16 and 64 could fall by 3.7 million, to below 27 million (1996 levels),
even if the birth rate rises and hundreds of thousands of immigrants are integrated every…

Bart Édes

Author of Learning from Tomorrow: Using Strategic Foresight to Prepare for the Next Big Disruption