Our international strategy, our global ambitions, and how we're planning to achieve them.

Bristol is a city made up of diverse communities with links to many countries around the world. 

Our citizens:

  • come from 187 countries
  • speak 91 languages
  • practise at least 45 religions

Bristol has a growing international reputation as a sustainable, innovative, inclusive and culturally diverse place.

Bristol is: 

  • a City of Sanctuary, welcoming and supporting refugees and asylum seekers
  • a UNESCO Learning City, promoting learning opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds
  • a UNESCO City of Film, a permanent global status that recognises the city's achievements as a world leader in the field of film and moving image
  • twinned with seven cities around the world building cultural, educational, research and international development relationships
  • one of the first cities in the world to assess our progress against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
    • demonstrating our commitment to tackling social, economic and environmental issues 
    • helping us communicate our work internationally with other cities, multilateral organisations, and investors, and with communities and young people in the city through the Global Goals Centre
  • one of the first cities in the UK to become a Living Wage City 
  • the first UK city to declare climate and ecological emergencies, and in 2020 launched:

Bristol has also been:

In 2019, Bristol received an award of €100,000 for our pioneering One City approach to join up local governance. This was from the European Commission after being shortlisted for the title of European City of Innovation 2019.

Our international Strategy 

Our International Strategy, pdf Bristol: Global City (4.78 MB) , aligns the priorities of the council and city partners. This provides a coordinated and strategic approach to developing relationships and business links internationally.

It helps us recognise, value and share the contribution that our citizens with diverse international heritage bring to our global city, through working, living and sharing together; strengthening our social, cultural, educational and business opportunities.

Our goal

Our goal is to work with the world for local and global benefit, achieving our vision of a stronger, more inclusive city, and providing leadership on the global development goals.

We want: 

  • to lead on shared global values and development goals, such as inclusivity, sustainability and resilience
  • a stronger Bristol economy that acts as an international gateway to the UK
  • our international communities and global citizens to link Bristol to the world, creating a culturally vibrant, cohesive and welcoming city
  • 'city diplomacy' - more devolved power to local and regional government, giving a stronger voice to cities to ensure international and national policy meets the needs of citizens.

How we work

We'll achieve our international strategic objectives by focusing on:

  • Profile: building on Bristol's international profile to develop a more prosperous and sustainable city
  • Policy: influencing local, regional, national and global policy to drive our city's agenda and meet the needs of our city
  • Prosperity: increasing and broadening prosperity through building on global links, securing international funding, trade, investment, cultural and educational opportunities
  • People: supporting and building on the cultural, educational and economic links of Bristol's global citizens and diverse international communities 
  • Partnerships: participating in national and international networks that will provide the links, knowledge and funding we need to deliver our strategy. 

We develop collaborative relationships with other cities and global city networks such as: 

Through these networks we raise the voice of cities in international negotiations for example on the climate emergency and migration. 

We partner to access international funding and we gain new insights into how peer cities around the world tackle the challenges we face. 

We also work closely with global institutions such as:

International Ambassadors programme 

Our International Ambassadors programme aims to strengthen existing connections and develop new opportunities to partner with cities across the globe that face similar challenges to Bristol. 

The current International Ambassadors are: 

  • Dr Mena Fombo, Founder and Director of Black Girl Convention
  • Silas Adekunle, Co-Founder and CEO of Reach Robotics 

Cities responding to Covid-19

Cities have been on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic and will be central to building a sustainable and inclusive future. 

Now, more than ever, it is vital that cities continue to work together to share their experiences and approaches in both practical and strategic ways. 

We're doing this through our links to other global cities and the global networks and institutions. 

You can follow us on Twitter via #BristolGlobalCity or contact the International Affairs team at International@bristol.gov.uk