What do we do?

The international work of Barcelona Metropolitan Area (AMB), including its cooperation relations, is a broad-based tool to support public policies, and part of the institution's overall strategy.
AMB requires an international strategy that goes beyond undertaking international actions and cooperation. Like all large administrations, a well-directed and focused international profile is an important factor which contributes to the development of its authority.

The internationalisation strategy is part of the 2015-2019 Metropolitan Action Plan, complies with the agenda for metropolitan public policies, and is based on a process of reflection and organisation involving constant adaptation.

In order to develop the proposals from AMB's governing team for this mandate, and as specified in the MAP, the need to implement a coordinated strategy has arisen, in specific terms and with particular intensity in the geographical framework of Europe and the Mediterranean, which involves all the areas in which AMB operates, and which ensures that the institution is present in the discussion and decision-making forums that make up this model of direct relationships based on the local sphere.

A new era is therefore beginning, in which we are committed to raising the profile and enhancing the positioning of AMB in the world. By placing international action within this framework, we obtain a consistency and added value that enhances the impact of internationalisation and cooperation policies on the authority of AMB.

As set out in the 2015-2019 MAP, the International Relations and Cooperation Area has the following objectives:
  • To cooperate and network to strengthen the role of metropolitan areas in the European Union and other international organisations.
  • To seek knowledge and experiences that provide a response to social, economic and humanitarian crises, and help to remedy social inequalities in our cities.
  • Together with municipal councils, to offer expertise and knowledge in urban agglomerations and metropolitan governments seeking support for their development.
  • To identify opportunities for international cooperation and collaboration for AMB, municipal councils, social and economic actors and universities in the metropolitan area.

Cooperation and networking to strengthen the role of AMB in the European Union and other international organisations will be prioritised, to help it become a leading metropolis.
Despite being a very young administration, which was established in 2010 with the approval of Law 31/2010 on Barcelona Metropolitan Area, AMB has a long history which means it a great deal of experience, related above all to governance of the region and the management of services shared by its constituent municipalities.

This knowledge and the many and varied experiences obtained since the 1950s, when the first regional urban plan for Barcelona was drafted, mean that it is ready to be a world leader in metropolitan governance. This value must be reinforced and projected to the outside world in order to have a strong influence on the European and international political agenda as it affects local governments. 
  • Participation in networks
    AMB is an active member of several international sectoral and metropolitan governance networks in its endeavours to work towards the various objectives of the MAP and its internationalisation strategy.

    These networks offer AMB a forum for relationships and shared learning and, among other factors, greatly facilitate contact with counterparts in other countries, with which it is possible to share experiences, provide access to opportunities offered by international organisations and cooperation with projects of mutual interest, and enable the dissemination on an international level of our political and strategic vision on issues that are local and global in scope.

    See the international networks in which AMB participates
  • Institutional relations
    AMB establishes channels of cooperation with institutions that work on an international scale. These relationships create opportunities for municipal councils and other stakeholders in the metropolitan area.

    Collaborating institutions

Global intervention
In fulfilment of its political mandate, and to raise the international profile of its authority, in the sphere of both international and cooperation projects, AMB continues to participate and lead international projects that are engaged in its areas of action.

In the international sphere, it always applies to participate in European projects that are consistent with the interests and strategies of each area.

See projects

In the area of International Cooperation and Education for Global Justice, which promotes sustainable urban development and the guarantee of human rights in metropolitan areas and cities, AMB works towards the priorities of its member organisations.

Its work focuses on metropolitan authority and the countries of the global South, based on alliances with AMB partners and support for projects by NGOs and metropolitan councils.

Shared knowledge
In order to achieve its goals in a way that is consistent with world events, AMB must have access to the most up-to-date knowledge on the basic issues of the international agenda.
It is necessary to have access to specialised information on a global scope provided by various international institutions and experts when focusing efforts on important global goals.
For this reason, AMB has established relationships with leading institutions in Spain, in order to have access to the necessary information.

AMB has also promoted the creation of the International Metropolitan Areas Observatory, with the Metropolis network. One of its main aims is to monitor the development of metropolitan governance worldwide.

Furthermore, as specified in the MAP, in order to consolidate the international strategy to make the AMB area a leading metropolis in Europe and the world, an International Relations Advisory Board will be created in 2017, which will consist of representatives from the public and private sector, civil society and experts.
  • International Metropolitan Areas Observatory
    This is a joint project undertaken by AMB and the Metropolis network in 2016, aimed at creating a space for communication and reflection on the major phenomena of transformation affecting cities and metropolitan areas worldwide today. It takes into account the changes that currently characterise them, and the implementation of the new international Urban Agenda Habitat III and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

    The momentum of the Observatory will provide the tools necessary to identify the present and future impact of the phenomenon of urban transformation on issues such as sustainable development, the management of space, mobility, social cohesion and access to housing.
    • Provide frameworks of reference for metropolises all over the world on the need to incorporate the metropolitan perspective into the governance of cities and regions.
    • Identify and compare trends in the development of metropolitan governance models.
    • Act as a broad-based tool for all activities by the Metropolis association, taking advantage of all content on metropolitan governance.
    • Empower elected officials and technical teams of the members of Metropolis in all matters related to metropolitan governance.
  • Advisory board
    This Strategic Advisory Board on international relations will meet twice a year to discuss and agree on strategic metropolitan issues on a worldwide scale of interest to AMB.