The agreement comes eight months after the terrorist attack in La Rambla on 17 August last year, which cost the lives of 15 people and left 152 injured. The attack was carried out by youngsters of Moroccan origin from the town of Ripoll. Because of this, the municipal councils of Barcelona and Ripoll have signed an agreement to exchange and share policy experiences in multiculturalism, inclusion, religious diversity and the fight against discrimination.
Municipal policies for social cohesion
For many years now, the city of Barcelona has actively pursued policies for the inclusion of people of various cultural origins, channelled through different public services and projects. Notable services include the Office of Religious Affairs (OAR), the Office for Non-Discrimination (OND), the municipal programme for multiculturalism, the Barcelona Anti-Rumours Strategy and the intercultural mediation programme for municipal professionals.
The Mayor described these tools and resources as “long-standing and high level accumulated experience, which must be as useful as possible, not just for our city but for any other”. Rather than considering the agreement a one-way document, Colau stressed its collaborative and cooperative nature, as Barcelona is a city which “is aware it has much to learn from other cities, such as Ripoll, which is doing great work in social cohesion”.
For their part, Ripoll Town Council and the Ripollès Social Services Consortium are working on an inclusive coexistence project reflecting on the factors which led to the attacks last August and the impact they had on the municipality. The aim is to design a strategy to work on the sense of belonging.
Agreement on shared experiences
Today’s agreement sees both parts make a firm commitment to exchanging experiences and good practice in policies relating to multiculturalism, inclusion, the fight against discrimination and the management of cultural and religious diversity.
These experiences specifically include:
- Transfer of knowledge between the two administrations on various projects, programmes and initiatives.
- Exchange of training for professionals and specialists from the three administrations.
- Participation in specialist seminars and workshops between professionals from the three administrations and the joint development of materials.
- Participation in joint social cohesion projects, policies and programmes which include local residents of various cultural origins, the fight against discrimination and respect for religious diversity.
- Coordinated work on planning and prevention processes for the content of the agreement.
The agreement will run until 31 December 2019 and can be expressly extended on a yearly basis up to a maximum of four years.