The Global Observatory emerges from OBREAL which was created as a network in order to implement a cooperation project of the European Commission (DG RELEX y EuropeAid). At that moment, the Commission pointed out in its call that the relationship between the European Union and Latin America had become closer as a result of bi-regional summits, existing association agreements (i.e. México and Chile) and association agreement negotiations. Therefore, more and more advices were required for decision-making in the area of bi-regional relationships.

OBREAL was born in this context, with the aim of contributing to the creation of a network of institutions and organizations from both regions which had no coordination mechanisms and/or limited visibility. As a result, OBREAL was set up by 23 academic institutions, research centers in Europe and Latin America, and their own networks.

Between 2004 and 2016, OBREAL’s research was organized in five thematic areas:

  • Trade and financial relations and regional integration
  • Democracy, human rights and the rule of law
  • Social and development cooperation
  • Global governance and multi-regionalism
  • Civil society and institution’s building

Since 2017, the Global Observatory re-defined its former thematic areas and has extended its outreach  from Europe to Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, connecting important actors in diverse sectors in collaborative projects for development. In this new context, and keeping its main goals, the Global Observatory concentrated its actions in project managing, incorporating new members and supporting institutions in the network.