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Cabinet to consider local vision for Bristol as a global city

A strategy for developing and maintaining Bristol’s role on the global stage is set to be considered by Bristol City Council’s Cabinet on 7 March.

With a goal to ensure that Bristol’s increased presence in the world brings local as well as global benefits, the proposed strategy outlines a vision for building on Bristol’s international profile to create investment, funding and other global opportunities for local citizens, businesses and institutions alike.

If agreed it would also see the council working with its partners to build a city which provides leadership on global development goals including inclusivity, resilience and sustainability.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees said: “As in so many areas of the Bristol city life I see diversity as a source of our strength and I would like to develop our overseas work in ways which help everyone feel they benefit from us being an international city.

“It is not just about international trade and investment. It is also about providing leadership on global values such as human rights and environmental sustainability whilst seeking benefits for local people as members of an increasingly global society. At Cabinet we will consider whether this recommended strategy is the best way to achieve those things.”

The proposed strategy reflects the priorities of a range of organisations across the city.  If approved by Cabinet, its implementation would be coordinated by Bristol City Council’s International Service, including the Bristol Brussels Office, working in collaboration with other partners in the city, including businesses, the universities and voluntary and community organisations.

Mayor Rees added: “The connections we have through our existing Bristol Brussels Office have allowed us to access EU funding and participate in the right policy conversations for the benefit of the city. These connections also play a part in our planning for a post-Brexit future.”

The Brussels office is already establishing co-investment from other partners in Bristol, so partners can share in the benefits of having a presence in Brussels as well as making the office sustainable in the long term.

The University of Bristol is the first partner to trial this co-investment.  Working with Paul Davies, head of the Bristol Brussels Office, the aim is to provide specific services and deliver targeted work for the University to help enhance its profile in Brussels.

The first of three joint events with the University took place 1 March showcasing Bristol’s digital innovation expertise to European contacts. This well-attended event featured a range of speakers, including Dimitra Simeonidou, Professor of High Performance Networks, University of Bristol who has played an integral role in the development of the Bristol is Open joint venture with Bristol City Council.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research at the University of Bristol said: “The University is a global leader in driving how communications and digital technologies will impact the way people live in the future. The event held in Brussels is a strong example of our important ties with Europe and gave academics from the University the opportunity to discuss how our experimental test beds are shaping digital innovation and solving urban challenges.  We are excited that Bristol is leading on 5G and together with the city we are developing the communication systems of the future.”