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Bilbao City

Member since: 
September 2016


Bilbao is Regional Vice President city for Europe of GSEF network and was host city for the 4th Global Social Economy Forum GSEF2018. 
GSEF2018 took place with the theme of  "Social Economy and Cities: Values and competitiveness for an inclusive and sustainable local development" from 1 to 3 October 2018.   
More information on the GSEF2018 website 

Social Economy

In Bilbao there are 3,500 active third sector organizations. The distribution is as follows : 57% (2,000 firms) has its headquarters in Bizkaia Province (of which Bilbao is the capital city and in which 53.31% of the Bizkaian social institutions are concentrated), 29% is located in Gipuzkoa Province and the remaining 14% is located in Araba Province (500). 

Concerning employment, the third sector in the Basque Country employs around 36,000 people that provides paid work (part time and full time work) and includes the participation of around 125,000 volunteers.

In 2013, the Basque economic volume of the sector was of 1,451 million euros, which is equivalent to 2.2% of GDP of the Basque Country. 

Recent Steps on Social Economy

Basque Parliament has recently adopted a law that unifies under same standards the operation and principles of non-profit organisations working in the third sector (3,500 organisations) - working on the promotion of social solidarity, as well as on the promotion of social participation of people, social rights inclusion and social cohesion.

In this sense, the Third Sector of the Basque country now has a legal framework that, among other things, regulates its participation in the design of social policies that the Basque institutions shall implement in the next few years.

According to the ''White Paper'' of the Third Sector located in the Basque Country - which is a research done by the Observatory of Bizkaia- the number of users of the services provided by social entities has increased in the last three years, as well as the number of people who work in this field (especially those related to people in situation or risk of vulnerability and exclusion). This increase is related to the social impact generated by the economic crisis.

Regarding Bilbao City Hall Government Plans related to the third sector, they point to the collaboration with the third sector in terms of the:

  • Assignment for rent of municipal housing entities to the third sector, in order to host vulnerable communities.
  • Development and maintenance of a collaborative model between the social initiative and the public administration.
  • Social Affairs Municipal Committee.

Concerning the cooperation with other organisations, Bilbao City highlights the cooperation with the university, in which the sharing of people and resources is a reality. In fact, the Third Sector and the university develop joint research activities, awareness activities and exchange know how, as well as the academic education.