UN’s body for Water Management (GWOPA) will be based in Barcelona


Barcelona (ACN).- Barcelona will host the permanent secretariat of the Global Water Operatoru2019s Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA), the United Nations body in charge of water management and depending on UN-Habitat, the agency dealing with issues related to human settlements worldwide. GWOPAu2019s headquarters will be based in the historical site of the old Sant Pau Hospital, a group of Art-Nouveau pavilions that used to host a hospital. GWOPA offices will occupy one of those pavilions, which are earmarked to host several international organisations and thus transform Sant Pau Hospitalu2019s historical site into a pool of such institutions. This Monday, an institutional ceremony was held to welcome the decision. The Catalan Minister for Sustainability, Lluís Recoder, stated that GWOPA u201Cis not the first and neither will it be the last organisation to chooseu201D Sant Pau  for  its headquarters. In fact, one institute of the United Nations University has already decided to settle in one of these Art-Nouveau pavilions in Cataloniau2019s capital. The official presentation of the new headquarters brought together representatives from the Barcelona City Council, the Catalan Government and the Spanish Government.

The Mayor of Barcelona, Xavier Trias, was u201Cespecially satisfiedu201D with the news, which represents u201Can extraordinary pushu201D for the old buildings of Sant Pau Hospital. u201CWe are transforming this Art-Nouveau heritage into something with a public utilityu201D, besides being a tourist attraction in its own right, underlined Trias.  These pavilions were designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, one of the top representatives of Catalan Modernism, together with Antoni Gaudí and Josep Puig i Cadafalch.

The Spanish Deputy Minister for International Cooperation, Gonzalo Robles Orozco, stated that the Spanish Government has considered it u201Ca priorityu201D to have Barcelona  as the base of this United Nationsu2019 organisation. In addition, Robles Orozco underlined that being able to base the main offices in such Art-Nouveau pavilions u201Cis a luxuryu201D.

All the political representatives emphasised the positive cooperation among the different government levels involved  in reaching the goal of basing GWOPA in Barcelona. In addition, they emphasised the private-public support the initiative has received, since the companies Agbar, Comsa-Emte, FCC and the Fundació Fòrum Ambiental will bring a total of u20AC400,000 to the project (u20AC100,000 each). In addition, the Spanish Government will bring u20AC1.1 million per year.