Barcelona has a firm commitment to international municipalism, with two priority areas: promoting bilateral relations and joint work with other cities ─ to exchange knowledge and learn from cities that are benchmarks in various fields, and to promote common policies─ and to strengthen Barcelona's participation in the main international networks and bodies where the city is represented.
The International Relations Department works closely with educational and research centres, think tanks and other institutions in the city to help raise awareness and build an engaged, responsible and critical citizenry, and to provide research and knowledge on priority issues related to the city in a global context.
Barcelona City Council's development cooperation has become a distinctive and key policy that shows Barcelona's profile and leadership in the growing internationalist activism of cities and, also, the support and commitment to active solidarity of citizens and their organisations in civil society.
The Barcelona Cooperation for Global Justice Master Plan 2018-2021 proposes to reinforce the goal of global justice, and emphasises the systemic causes that generate injustices, which are becoming global today. It questions aspects such as growth that does not consider negative externalities or the planet’s limits, often associated with certain modes of production, distribution, management and consumption and with certain social behaviour patterns. This scenario means including coherence of policies as a priority and accepting that the city’s global action will also generate negative impacts outside of its borders. Finally, it also requires giving Education for Global Justice a greater centrality in the implementation of the policy for shifting towards a truly transformative cooperation.
The City Council has actively established direct cooperation with some cities, such as Medellin, Maputo, different Palestinian cities, Havana, and the Tangier-Tétouan corridor, among others. These experiences, based on horizontal dialogue and the reciprocity of the political and technical teams, have become true channels for the exchange of knowledge and technical expertise for institutional strengthening, the definition of policies and the provision of public services. All based on a municipal agenda, in which the participation of different departments was significant. This has become one of the main assets of the City Council’s cooperation.