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Juan Mari Aburto Bilbao

In June 2015 I had the honour of becoming Mayor of Bilbao, my native city and a city with a strong personality that has reinvented itself in the most complicated moments of its history. The crisis of traditional industry and the worst flooding suffered 30 years ago was the beginning of the new Bilbao that we relish today, the Bilbao of the Guggenheim Museum; the Bilbao of the 21st century, a model of urban development based on sustainability, social justice and a focus on education, talent and innovation. Because urban and human development are for me two sides of the same coin”.

– Mayor Juan Mari Aburto


Juan Mari Aburto was born in Bilbao in 1961. Married and father to two children, he received his law degree from the University of Deusto. For the last 20 years he has held different public offices, mostly related to the promotion of employment and social justice. Among those worth a particular mention are his time at the Social Action Department of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia (2003-2011) and his work at the head of the Employment and Social Affairs Department of the Basque Government (2012-2015). He was elected Mayor of Bilbao in 2015 as the candidate of the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) and he has been re-elected in 2019. From the moment he took office he made clear that “improving the quality of life for the men and women of Bilbao is the first and last goal” of his job: “The dignity of the people and the common good are matters that must shape all political action”.

How is the
Mayor promoting
Inclusive Growth ?
Bilbao Charter of Values A city's commitment

Bilbao Charter of Values is an innovative project for the development of the city based on shared values. The objective is to build a space of dialogue, reflection and co-creation allowing public institutions to collaborate with social entities, companies, the media, educational centres and citizens to promote a framework of shared values. The charter’s framework enables the city to improve the quality of life and well-being of its citizens and to allow the sustainable and inclusive development of the city.

Bilbao City Council approved #Bilbao Aurrera (‘Bilbao Moving Forward’), €15 million of measures focusing on social cohesion, employment, culture and economic reactivation post- COVID-19. The plan supports the sectors greatest impacted, such as small local businesses, hotels and restaurants, tourism and the cultural and creative industries. In the cultural sector, the plan includes a €500,000 culture bonus, the promotion of local cultural trade through small scale indoor activities and cultural and creative activities in the public space.

#Bilbao Aurrera aims to provide a ‘social shield’ to people particularly affected by COVID-19 and who require specific care after confinement. In addition to the aid granted by the Basque Regional Government, support is provided to meet basic food and household needs. A Special Non-Periodic Municipal Aid programme of  €625,000 will also assist those without income or whose income decreased due to COVID-19. #Bilbao Aurrera includes a financial allocation for older people (€150,000) and a Community Housing Fund (€560,000) for those who need alternative accommodation. There is also a special fund to temporarily house homeless people.

Pact for Social Policies

Bilbao City Council promoted the Pact for Social Policies in 2018, an agreement that reaffirms its commitment to social cohesion and equality among all citizens, through the elaboration of policies where the values of solidarity, dignity and human growth prevail, all in line with the European Pillar for Social Rights: moving ahead without leaving anyone behind, focusing efforts on ensuring everyone can access opportunities, and giving access to all goods and services that allow them to lead an optimal quality of life.

Bilbao works specifically with a city model that cares for and protects the youngest and the elderly.

Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals

Bilbao has been working on the diagnosis of the action of the Bilbao City Council and agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The city aims to align the Bilbao Strategic Government Plan with Agenda 2030, with the aim of delivering both, and ensuring their future implementation is straightforward. Special consideration is given to SDG 11 (Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable).

The Municipal Strategic Plan has been analysed: its 10 axes, 49 objectives and 121 lines have been matched with the 17 Sustainable Development Objectives and its 169 Goals.