Water management is one of the weaknesses. | Miquel À. Cañellas

Much is said about sustainability and not just in terms of tourism. But for all the talk in the Balearics, the islands are ranked 15th in Spain in terms of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. These goals were established by the UN in 2015, and their importance is reflected by the fact that the Spanish government has a ministry for the 2030 Agenda.

The 2022 Report on Regional Sustainability, produced by the General Council of Economists of Spain, places the Balearics fifteenth among the seventeen regions along with the Canaries and Andalusia. While the islands score well for indicators such as food security, promotion of agriculture, gender equality and empowerment of women, the low marks come for weaknesses that will not come as a complete surprise.

One of these is water management. The report states that the islands have limitations in resources and infrastructures to ensure supply with increasing human pressure, especially in the summer months. This is a key issue for the Balearics, especially in light of climate change, and it is one that is central to the sustainability of tourism and policies related to tourism.

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A second weakness is education. The report says that the Balearics are far from achieving "inclusive, equitable and quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all". In this regard, the report doesn't concern itself solely with school education and with the fact that the Balearics typically rank poorly in core subjects. It is also to do with further education, which links to the third weakness.

For all the regions of Spain, the Balearic Islands are the worst for "building resilient infrastructures, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation". It is the innovation that creates the link to education, and this is a theme that has been evident for years in all the discussions about the diversification of the economy away from a dependence on tourism. Likewise, failures with regard to sustainable industrialisation highlight exactly the same dependence.

As to regions best positioned to meeting the SDGs, these are the Basque Country, La Rioja and Navarre.