The Diplomat. 27/10/2018
The United Nations University Institute for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNU-GCM), based in Barcelona, will leave Spain at the end of 2018 after the negotiations to guarantee its continuity and its sustainability were unsuccessful. 2019-2021 period.
The Council of Ministers yesterday authorized the denunciation of the agreements between Spain and the United Nations University for the establishment, operation and location of the United Nations University Institute for the Alliance of Civilizations in Barcelona. Both agreements, in force since 2013 and 2014, established the legal regime and the privileges and immunities of the Institute’s headquarters and its activities, functions and financing.
Since both agreements required the authorization of the Parliament at the time, the denunciation must be authorized by the Parliament, to which the Government has sent this decision by urgent procedure. Once this procedure is completed, the UN will be notified of compliance with the internal procedures required for its completion.
The first agreement, in force since 2013, established the legal regime and the privileges and immunities concerning the headquarters of said organization in Spain and the second agreement, of 2014, defined the Institute’s activities, its areas of cooperation, its location and the economic contributions assumed by Spain. The UNU-GCM is located in the Sant Manuel Pavilion of the Sant Pau Hospital, a modernist building declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Specifically, the economic contributions had been jointly assumed by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education, the Government of Catalonia and the Barcelona City Council. The Government contributed 12.4 million euros in 2012 for the start-up of the institute in Barcelona. In 2016, by decision of the Executive, the United Nations University Institute for the Alliance of Civilizations was renamed the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM).
Over the last few months, a negotiation process between the parties was developed for the renewal of the agreements for the period 2019-2021, in which the main objective was to guarantee the long-term sustainability of UNU-GCM and increase its visibility and effectiveness.
During this negotiation process, according to the Executive, “it has become clear that it is not possible to increase the contribution contributed by Spain nor, on the other hand, it has been feasible to carry out the reconfiguration of the Institute”. In addition, the UNU sector itself announced last August its desire to leave Spanish territory at the end of the year.