x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Dubai’s big push to host World Expo 2020

A three-day symposium will showcase plans to transform the lives communities the world over followed by tours to help delegates gauge public support for the fair, officials said.

Representatives from 167 member countries of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the body governing the World Expo, will attend the three-day symposium as Dubai seeks to convince them the emirate is the best venue for Expo 2020. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters
Representatives from 167 member countries of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the body governing the World Expo, will attend the three-day symposium as Dubai seeks to convince them the emirate is the best venue for Expo 2020. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

DUBAI // More than 250 delegates have arrived to witness the UAE’s final pitch to host the Expo 2020 and witness the country’s ambition to build a legacy that touches lives across the world.

A three-day symposium will showcase plans to transform the lives of communities the world over followed by tours to help delegates gauge public support for the fair, officials said.

The representatives from 167 member countries of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the body governing the World Expo, will attend the symposium titled “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future: Partnerships for Global Innovation and Sustainable Development” from Tuesday until Thursday.

“It is my hope that our guests enjoy their short stay with us and leave with an understanding of what a World Expo in Dubai and its legacy could mean, not only for Dubai and the UAE, but for all member nations of the BIE, the wider region and for future generations across the globe,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the president of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, chairman of Dubai Airports and chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline. Sheikh Al Maktoum is also chairman of the Higher Committee for the Expo 2020 bid.

A successful bid would bring the first world fair to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region.

“We are delighted to welcome the representatives from the Bureau International des Expositions. Over the coming days we look forward to exploring the theme of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future together,” he said.

International and national experts will focus on the country’s stability and safety, the economic environment and infrastructure during the symposium. This will include morning conference sessions and discussions that aim to showcase the specific strengths the UAE offers as a host nation.

Delegates will be taken on afternoon tours, called Learning Journeys, covering sites in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah to give a deeper understanding of the country’s culture, heritage, infrastructure and operational readiness to host the world fair, according to a statement from the organisers.

The tours will cover the Burj Khalifa, the Jebel Ali port operated by DP World, Emirates Aviation Academy, the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Sheikh Zayed Mosque and Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE’s long-term initiative, Expo Live, that involves international collaboration to transform lives, will also be explained.

Expo Live is a seven-year programme that draws from the themes of the Dubai Expo 2020 to answer recurring challenges such as mobility, sustainability and opportunity.

Two vital projects for solar energy and clean drinking water titled “D Light and Pure Home Water” will be presented at the symposium this week.

The D Light project is an affordable high-quality solar lantern that has already helped 20 million people with the aim of impacting 100 million lives by 2020.

Clay pots reinforced with innovative filtering technology are part of the Pure Home Water initiative that aims to bring safe clean drinking water to communities across the developing world.

Both projects have the backing of €100 million (Dh502.3m) from the Expo Partnership Fund.

“We are confident that the programme we have put in place will bring to life the conversations we have had with delegates throughout the last two years of the bid and will underline the unique opportunities that only a World Expo in Dubai in 2020 can bring,” said Reem Al Hashemi, the Minister of State and managing director of the Dubai Expo 2020 bid.

“The theme symposium represents a critical milestone in our bid to host the World Expo in 2020. It promises to be a highly engaging event with an opportunity not only to hear from our country’s leadership but to engage with local and international experts on the theme.”

rtalwar@thenational.ae