The Basque Government to promote environmental education among citizens to advance sustainability in the Basque Country
- Housing earmarks 71 million euros for rental and rehabilitation support programmes
The Governing Council meeting was held at Ekoetxea Urdaibai, the Basque Country Biodiversity Centre, in Busturia, on the occasion of “World Environment Day” on 5 June.
After the meeting, the spokesperson of the Basque Government and Minister of Culture and Linguistic Policy, Bingen Zupiria, appeared at a press conference, together with the First Vice-Lehendakari and Minister of Security, Josu Erkoreka, and the Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, Arantxa Tapia.
During the press conference, the minister Arantxa Tapia presented the BOOST Project, a response to the challenges posed by environmental education. As he explained, the project aims to build bridges, to collaborate to bring environmental education to the classroom and beyond; to build multidisciplinary networks to broaden the community’s efforts towards effective change; to have a channel of communication for all the agents working in the Basque Country in the field of Environmental Education; and to train educators in the field of Environmental/Climate Education, promoting continuous training throughout life, adapted to the circumstances and contexts. Likewise, to train and empower young people in the field of Environmental/Climate Education, to train professional groups from sectors other than Environmental Education, as well as public and private entities; to promote Non-Formal Education; and to develop training and empowerment programmes in Environmental Education and citizen science aimed at families, young people and citizen groups and associations.
The Minister for the Environment stressed the importance of education for sustainability. “It is a process of continuous training, in which citizens are informed and involved, and have the tools, skills and commitment to act, both individually and collectively, in favour of sustainable development and considering the three axes of sustainability: social, environmental and economic”, she pointed out. She also highlighted the commitment to promoting environmental education and extending it to all citizens, not only in the business, institutional and educational spheres.
She also underlined some of the most important environmental milestones that the Department has been working on, the most recent being the draft Law on Energy Transition and Climate Change to achieve climate neutrality in the Basque Country by 2050, approved on 16 May and already being processed in the Basque Parliament.
For his part, the First Vice-Lehendakari and Minister for Security, Josu Erkoreka, presented the “Draft Law for the Creation of the Basque Cybersecurity Agency-Euskadiko Zibersegurtasun Agentzia”, a new public body, with its own legal personality, which will be called “Cyberzaintza” and which will be created to combat, in a comprehensive and crosscutting manner, the threats derived from the use of the Internet and new technologies in the Basque Country. When approved by the Basque Parliament, the new Agency will be attached to the Department of Security and will ensure that the Basque Government will have the necessary tools and resources to tackle risks in the field of cybersecurity in the Basque Country.
According to the minister, the new Basque Country cybersecurity agency will work mainly on three fronts: cybercrime, protection of public infrastructures and data, and protection of corporate infrastructures and data.
Josu Erkoreka also provided data on cybercrime in the Basque Country in the first quarter of 2023. According to the data, 25% of the crimes reported in the Basque Country are now perpetrated through new technologies. Specifically, during this period, there have been 6,086 cybercrimes, 22% more than in the same period last year. The vast majority of these continue to be cyber-scams, which account for 88% of all cybercrimes.
AGREEMENTS OF THE GOVERNING COUNCIL
As usual, the spokesperson, Bingen Zupiria, provided information on other issues discussed in the Governing Council meeting, including the following:
On the one hand, the Governing Council has authorised the creation of 15 new employment guidance posts to be incorporated into Lanbide with the aim of improving care for people seeking to find work or improve their existing jobs. These people join the team of 244 Lanbide professionals who currently hold the position of guidance counsellor. According to Zupiria, these are counsellors who will contribute to the process of modernising and improving Lanbide Hobetzen, to the progressive implementation of the Basque Income Guarantee and Inclusion System Act and the future Basque Employment Act.
Linked to education, the Government has agreed at its meeting today to grant a direct subsidy to the UNED National University of Distance Education, for an amount of 500,000 euros. This grant will be distributed among the three UNED centres in the Basque Country (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Bergara and Bizkaia) and will be distributed according to the number of students enrolled in each of the associated centres in the Basque Country, by virtue of the agreement signed between the Basque Government's Department of Education and the UNED in April 2021.
As regards housing, on the one hand, the Governing Council has given the green light to the decree authorising the acquisition of the Visesa shares currently held by Kutxabank and Laboral Kutxa. The transaction will involve the purchase of the 2,648 shares held by both banks for 15.6 million euros and the value of this transaction has been determined by an independent expert, a figure provided for in the Corporate Enterprises Act.
In addition, the Government has agreed to allocate almost 71 million euros to finance aid programmes for social renting and housing rehabilitation,and has therefore approved an Order publicising the payment and commitment appropriations that will finance the multi-annual subsidy lines to be granted in the current financial year 2023 to promote the renting and rehabilitation of housing and buildings.
And to finish with another decision regarding Housing, the Government has given the green light to the signing of an agreement with the City Council of Zuia for the construction of public rental housing in Murgia, with the aim of expanding the stock of affordable housing in the historical territory of Alava and making the right to a decent and adequate home effective.
As party of the Department of Culture and Language Policy, on the one hand, the Basque Government has decided to support with 1.7 million euros the projects that promote the Basque language within the Euskalgintza call for projects for the development, dissemination and/or normalisation of the Basque language in society. On the other hand, the Government has approved the call for one million euros for subsidies for museums and collections in the Basque Country. The Governing Council has also approved the creation of the “Kiroletik Bagoaz Euskaraz” award, which aims to reward sports associations (professional or otherwise) and individuals who promote the use of Basque in everyday life, so that the use of Basque also acquires prestige in sport.