The Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site is home to leading institutions in the fields of sustainability, health and education.

From their base at Sant Pau, these organisations carry out their programmes and activities while establishing mutual collaboration to undertake shared initiatives, studies and projects that bring innovative proposals to specific issues such as urban development, education, improving healthcare systems, forestry management, and water and sanitation, among others.

Sant Pau connects agents and experiences, becoming a unique environment where academic, economic and social sectors interact. The aim is to promote knowledge and research across the board and facilitate citizen involvement in ongoing debates in this environment.

The Knowledge Centre hosts seminars, congresses and meetings coordinated by the institutions residents at the Art Nouveau Site and other likeminded bodies. At the same time, it promotes projects that complement and feed on this activity.

The principles underpinning this project are based on ISO 26000 guidelines for social responsibility: accountability, transparency, ethical behaviour, and respect for stakeholder interests, the rule of law, international norms of behaviour, and human rights.


01. Casa Àsia

This pioneering institution was set up to contribute to a fuller understanding and promote closer relations between Spain and the countries of Asia and the Pacific at the institutional, economic, cultural, scientific and educational levels, as well as facilitating exchanges of cultures, ideas and projects of common interest.

Casa Àsia was set up in 2001 as a result of a partnership formed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, through the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the Generalitat de Catalunya, and the City Councils of Barcelona and Madrid, which joined a little later. Casa Àsia established its headquarters in the Sant Manuel Pavilion in July 2013.

02. SCP / RAC

The Regional Activity Centre for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP/RAC) in Barcelona provides knowledge, training, advice and networking opportunities to businesses, entrepreneurs, financial agents, civil society organizations and governments that work to provide our society with services and products that are good for people and good for the planet.

The Centre belongs to the Mediterranean Action Plan, an organisation under the umbrella of the United Nations Environment Programme. Under that institutional framework, SCP/RAC has an official mandate as an organization that engages in International cooperation with Mediterranean countries on development and innovation in the production sector and civil society, based on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns.

SCP/RAC operates under the framework of two international treaties: the Barcelona Convention, which brings together the 21 Mediterranean neighbouring and the European Union countries to work together for sustainable development; and the Stockholm Convention, an International agreement involving around 180 countries to fight against persistent organic pollutants, highly polluting and toxic substances.

03. EFI

The European Forest Institute (EFI), located in the Sant Leopold Pavilion, is an international organisation recognized by 22 countries which works to promote the conservation and sustainable management of forests. EFI has installed several key programmes in Sant Pau.

EFIMED, EFI's Regional Office for the Mediterranean, which opened in 2007, coordinates a network of more than 60 forest research institutionsfrom 17 Mediterranean countries, and promotes international cooperation on important issues such as research, knowledge transfer, training and policy development on forestry issues, especially in countries in the south and east of Europe.

EFI's top-level group of experts, the Policy Advice Group, is also developing two of its most important lines of work in Sant Pau. One of these is the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade Facility (FLEGT), which advises and assists the EU in the implementation of the action plan for the organization, governance and trade in timber. The other is the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Facility (REDD), which supports European policies designed to reduce emissions caused by deforestation and forest degradation.


The Mercè Pavilion is home to the Permanent Secretariat of the Global Water Operators' Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA).

This multi-sector global network was founded in 2007 by a Council of Experts of the UN's Secretary-General, and is linked to the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT).

GWOPA works to help improve the supply of water and sanitation services in less developed countries through the promotion of initiatives for collaboration between operators and the design of training measures and practical tools.

05. WHO

The World Health Organization has installed its Office for Health Systems Strengthening in the Mercè Pavilion. Based in Barcelona since 1999, the Office has the support of the Generalitat deCatalunya.

One of its main areas of work is the strengthening of health systems and public policy at the subnational level, and the development of lines of cooperation between Mediterranean countries.

The WHO Office for Health Systems Strengthening works directly with member countries to improve the management of their respective public health systems, providing with practical tools that enable them to make good diagnoses of the problems and respond to their needs.


The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) has set up the international headquarters of its City Resilience Profiling Programme in the Sant Leopold Pavilion.

On the basis of the model of city that Barcelona has pioneered, this working group is developing new systems of risk measurement in cities and drawing up new standards of urban development and planning.

The overall objective is to provide the tools our cities will need to prepare to deal more effectively with crises that affect services and infrastructure, such as natural disasters.


The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic and research branch of the United Nations. Its mission is to connect higher education with the various organisations that make up the UN system in order to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems in all aspects of human life.

The UNU has set up its Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM) in the Sant Manuel Pavilion. The centre, which has been operating in Sant Pau since 2012, is the institution's eleventh world headquarters, and the first whose geographic reference is southern Europe.

The UNU-GCM focuses its activities on three interrelated areas of research — globalization, culture and mobility — and works to contribute to the study of human migration and the communications media as key aspects of our cultures in the context of globalization, and as elements of vital importance for the promotion of good governance, cultural diversity, democracy and human rights.


EURORDIS is a non-governmental patient-driven alliance of patient organisations representing 695 rare disease patient organisations in 63 countries covering over 4000 rare diseases. The mission of EURORDIS is to build a strong pan-European community of patient organisations and people living with rare diseases, to be their voice at the European level, and - directly or indirectly - to fight against the impact of rare diseases on their lives.

A disease or disorder is defined as rare in Europe when it affects fewer than 1 in 2000.  

The focus of EURORDIS' Barcelona-based activities centre will be geared around 4 specific areas: scientific collaboration; training, education and empowerment patients and their representatives in the areas of clinical trials and EU regulatory affairs; community-building, social support and public awareness.


The Sant Jordi Pavilion is home to the Barcelona International Public Policy Hub (BIPP HUB), which seeks to accelerate and amplify the impact of Barcelona’s international public policy (IPP) sector. BIPP HUB offers professional  services to Barcelona-based IPP and to new organisations  landing in the city.  It also offers high-quality workspace for resident members, manages projects with a sector-wide focus, incubates IPP start-ups and promotes collaboration within the sector.

BIPP HUB's inaugural resident members include:

The Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) is a think tank dedicated to helping fragile and conflict-affected states achieve more sustainable transitions out of conflict or authoritarianism. IFIT provides independent expert analysis and advice on integrated policy solutions for locally-led efforts to break cycles of conflict or repression.  

Democracia Abierta is a global digital platform for Latin American voices, debating democracy, mobilisation, participation, and human and civil rights across the continent, throughout the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world, and beyond. It forms part of Open Democracy, an independent and global network.

The Higher Education Alliance on Refugees (HEAR) is a new organisation dedicated to policy research to promote access to higher education for those forced to flee their homes by war, climate change and natural disasters. HEAR aims to harness technology and the expertise of universities around the world to create innovative approaches to education. One of HEAR’s main projects addresses the situation of Syrian refugees.