ICLEI European Secretariat

ICLEI European Secretariat



Member in the spotlight

Barcelona, Spain

cc: Flickr Roblis MeehanBarcelona is the capital of Catalonia and has a population of 1.6 million inhabitants. History, language and a distinct cultural, political and legal tradition have shaped the personality of the country and the people. Barcelona is a dense and compact city with a festive atmosphere and a thriving tourist industry.

While the nearby mountains and sea are popular attractions, they also place serious spatial constraints on the city, which long ago used up all the flat space available. This situation generates many environmental problems that are not easily managed. Still, Barcelona enjoys the benefits of modern, highly functional urban planning.

Sustainability focus: Environmental Education

The Barcelona School Agenda 21 is a pioneering environmental education programme for schools within Barcelona and a source of inspiration for similar initiatives beyond the city. The entire community around each school is involved in providing solutions and making commitments for a more sustainable city, for the environment and for the school itself.

The programme began in 2001 and aims is to stimulate and support schools in designing, carrying out and appraising sustainability plans of action, as well as improving educational practices towards this end. Continuous support and training is provided to school directors, teachers and district supervisors. A network of schools committed to sustainability has also been developed to share the learning process and to work towards common objectives.

A complete support programme is made available to the schools throughout the year, including telephone, email and fax consultation and information services, a support website, twice-weekly electronic bulletins, training courses, exchange days, reflection groups, personalised counselling, teaching resources and material, and participation in networks of schools and other organisations. Once they have participated in the programme for five years, the school centres are asked to make a comprehensive self-appraisal after which they receive a plaque of acknowledgement, together with a reward of €1,000 as a stimulus to carry out a new triennial project.

 For more information, read the ICLEI Case Study.

Fast facts:
  • To date, more than 700 organisations have signed Barcelona's Citizens’ Commitment Towards Sustainability
  • 80% of the journeys made within Barcelona are by public transport, on foot or by bicycle
  • Green urban spaces in Barcelona have increased by 150% over the last 30 years
  • Barcelona closely monitors air quality in the city using 13 public measuring stations
  • Public zones account for 29% of all green spaces in Barcelona
  • Barcelona is the only city in Spain whose underground network is partly automated
  • Around 40% of all tenders issued by Barcelona include at least one environmental or social criterion (at the technical specification, selection or award stages)



Toni Pujol"As an ICLEI member since 1995, Barcelona has formed a platform for joint local leadership in favour of sustainability. ICLEI sets goals, generates new ideas and provides inspiration, while keeping ahead of the needs of cities and the planet. Barcelona has advanced together with ICLEI, creating a win-win situation. Examples of this progress are joint projects such as the Barcelona EcoProcura Conference and the exchange of experiences on a day-to-day basis. Undoubtedly, making progress in sustainability requires networking and joining forces both on a city and global level.”

Toni Pujol,
ICLEI Liaison, City of Barcelona, Spain

ICLEI and Barcelona:
Barcelona has been an ICLEI member since 1995 and is a member of ICLEI's Cities for Climate Protection Campaign. The city is a founding member of the Procura+ Campaign and was also vice-chair for seven years. Barcelona participates in ICLEI's Local Action for Biodiversity Project. ICLEI and Barcelona also developed a case study on the region's local climate and energy actions as part of the LG Action project.

www.bcn.cat/es/ehome.htm [In Spanish]
www.bcn.cat/ca/chome.htm [In Catalan]