The original and indeed simplest meaning of ‘sustainability’, which is the theme of this year’s Statistical Report, is the ability of a natural or social system to continue over a period of time by maintaining its main characteristics.
Therefore, as president of a major Italian region, I am convinced that a ‘sustainable approach’ will enable us to deal with a broad cross-section of the challenges facing our society and to ensure Veneto grows in a harmonious and balanced manner.
Clearly, balance cannot be sought with an inert and passive approach, as it lies along a path of far-reaching structural reforms that affect our day-to-day civil society. I like to think that federalist reform of the State is, in a certain sense, a form of ‘institutional sustainability’, one that will enhance its administrative machinery in terms of service quality and public finances, and thus foster the role and potential of our local communities.
This is even more important within a global economic context that is beginning to show signs of a recovery after the serious crisis of 2008. Veneto’s dynamic society and production fabric mean that it has all the right tools to work towards development, competitiveness and employment. I am therefore convinced that it is only by taking full advantage of its strengths that Veneto will be able to maintain and improve its position in an increasingly globalised market.
‘Sustainability’ also calls to mind the tragic flood that struck Veneto between October and September of last year, an event to which the region responded with its customary promptness and generosity. Times such as these are also reminders that we must pursue collective wellbeing by protecting the environment and local area with tangible, effective policies that plan ahead and make wise decisions.
President of the Veneto Region
First and foremost, I should say that ‘sustainability’, which is the theme of the Statistical Report 2011, is the natural step from the concept of ‘creating networks’, the theme of last year’s report.
If creating networks between citizens, enterprises and institutions to promote development and wellbeing was the immediate response to the serious economic crisis that has tormented the world over the last few years, then now we must design a new model for Veneto that is founded on the strengths of its territory and people in order to overcome the challenges, both local and global, that it will have to face in the future.
To my mind, ‘sustainable development’ is a synonym of ‘quality of life’, which should be sought in every facet of society, not purely within the economy. In light of this, it plays an important role, as it combines two elements: development and sustainability. They are not contradictory, but work in synergy, as the history of Veneto has shown; a perfect example is the way that the architectural beauty of a Veneto villa blends seamlessly into its surrounding natural scenery.
Every day in my work as a regional councillor, I witness the close ties between safeguarding the landscape and environment, and tourism and culture; this virtuous circle makes up Veneto’s heritage, which Regione Veneto is committed to promoting to its full potential. By way of achieving this, Venice and the North East of Italy have been candidated as ‘European Capital of Culture 2019’, and Veneto’s Regional Landscape Plan has been designed as a key strategy that will breathe new life into territorial and planning policy.
I therefore hope that the Statistical Report 2011 will yet again be a useful additional tool that will enable everyone to discover Veneto and that its facts and figures will shape both the thought and the work of its administrators.
Vice President of the Veneto Region, and Regional Councillor for Territory, Culture, Statistics and General Affairs
The eighth edition of the Statistical Report is a milestone for a publication that, over the years, has become a point of reference for the analysis, deliberation and comparison of the issues, both structural and economic, which interest the entire region.
Its takes an in-depth look at local issues, especially in the provinces, compares Veneto with the most advanced areas of Italy and Europe, and is intricately linked to regional planning. These features highlight the extent to which the region’s statistical information system is committed to pursuing development, building on objective data to provide a quantitative and qualitative portrait of the development trends in Veneto. Its results are available to all of the people, both in the public and private sphere, who are working to make what Veneto is today and what it will become in the future.
The main objective of this year’s Statistical Report is to afford an insight into the Europe 2020 Strategy. Based on the Lisbon Strategy of 2000, Europe 2020 encompasses a wide range of challenges that need to be faced if the continent is to relaunch itself in the aftermath of the economic crisis. The strategy aims to build a structurally stronger Europe by promoting a smart, sustainable and inclusive economic and social system characterised by high employment, productivity and social cohesion. To achieve this, the strategy puts forward headline objectives that will ensure smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is therefore essential to have a clear and objective analysis of Veneto’s social and economic situation, which is exactly what this Statistical Report provides.
I believe that this report, which is also available in a hypertext version in Italian and English on the Regione Veneto website
is an important source of information and gives everyone much to think about.
Regional Secretary for Education, Employment and Planning