x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sustainability, innovation and collaboration: Dubai begins final pitch for Expo 2020

Officials reiterated a commitment to produce 50 per cent of the Expo’s energy requirements on site and aimed to set a benchmark for large events hosted in the Middle East.

An artist’s impression looking across the Expo site towards Al Wasl Plaza. Officials reiterated a commitment to produce 50 per cent of the Expo’s energy requirements on site. Courtesy Dubai Expo 2020
An artist’s impression looking across the Expo site towards Al Wasl Plaza. Officials reiterated a commitment to produce 50 per cent of the Expo’s energy requirements on site. Courtesy Dubai Expo 2020

DUBAI // The UAE aims to set a green benchmark for major events in the Middle East in its bid to host Expo 2020, a symposium for visiting delegates from the world fair’s governing body heard on Tuesday.

More than 250 delegates from 167 member countries of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) are attending the three-day Dubai symposium that ends on Thursday.

Helal Al Marri, a member of the Higher Committee for Dubai Expo 2020, explained how half of the Expo’s energy requirements will be produced onsite.

“We will deploy the most innovative solutions for environmental management and energy generation, as demonstrated by our aim of producing 50 per cent of the Expo’s operational energy requirements from renewable sources onsite,” said Mr Al Marri.

“Sustainability has informed every aspect of Dubai Expo 2020, from our overarching philosophy to the physical design of the site and infrastructure.”

A substantial portion of the 438-hectare site’s energy needs will be met using photovoltaic panels on the building’s facade.

Recycling waste water, reusing materials and monitoring the carbon footprint are also among green initiatives planned for the centre.

And recycled materials will be used for 30 per cent of construction for the Expo.

A State of Energy Report, commissioned to pool resources on sustainability, share best practices in energy strategy and environmental innovation, was unveiled at the symposium.

“Our contribution to this State of Energy Report reflects our commitment to deliver an Expo that is environmentally sound, inspiring for all visitors, and sets new standards in the planning and execution of mega events,” Mr Al Marri said.

The report was commissioned by the Dubai Supreme Council of Energy in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Dubai Carbon Centre for Excellence.

“It describes our way forward to build a green future for generations to come,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and of Dubai Expo 2020.

“This report is a reference for all the necessary knowledge and best practices for the energy sector.”

It included a chapter specifically on major events and highlighted how sustainability could play a vital role when hosting summits.

Dr Kishan Khoday, UNDP regional practice leader for energy and environment, said the organisation was keen to form partnerships with Arab countries to lead innovations in policy and technology.

“Sustainable energy has emerged as a major development priority for countries around the world, with a critical role to be played by sub-national and local partners like Dubai,” Dr Khoday said.

“The expansion of sustainable energy in the Arab region can be a vital part of the region’s drive to achieve sustainable development.”

Yesterday’s symposium was told of the advantages to the UAE hosting Expo 2020.

Speakers focused on the nation’s infrastructure, the emirate’s operational readiness and the country’s stability and security.

Groups of delegates were taken on afternoon tours covering landmarks in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah to give them an insight into the country’s heritage and culture.

The host city will be chosen after a BIE general assembly on November 26 and 27.

Dubai is competing with Izmir in Turkey, Ekaterinburg in Russia and Sao Paulo in Brazil.

rtalwar@thenational.ae