Tomorrow (October 20) thousands of people are expected at Jumeriah Beach Residence (JBR) to celebrate the three-year countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai.
Four years ago, in Paris, Dubai was voted as the city to host the World Expo 2020, beating Turkey, Russia and Brazil.
Fireworks erupted from the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, as news of the win was announced. But what is exactly Expo 2020?
Expo 2020 will be a celebration of human ingenuity around the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” built on three pillars: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
It will serve as a platform for international collaboration, fostering innovation and creating meaningful partnerships that will live far beyond 2020, not only for the UAE, but for the wider region and the world.
“Our ambition is to create a transformative World Expo; to showcase global innovations to the region and beyond; to engage the global community and to drive advancements and innovative solutions in the fields of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability, leaving behind a strong social and economic legacy,” the 2016 annual review of Expo 2020 quotes Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of the Bureau Expo 2020 Dubai, as saying.
The Expo, which will open on October 20, 2020 until April 2021, is set to attract 25 million visitors; 70 per cent of whom are expected to come from outside the UAE. This will be the largest number of international visitors in the 166-year history of world expos.
Moreover, that’s the first time that a world expo is held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and the Arab world.
More than 200 participants, including countries, companies, NGOs, and educational institutions are expected to participate.
Did you know?
The Eiffel Tower, the Seattle Space Needle, the telephone, the television and even tomato ketchup were either built for or exhibited at an Expo.
So what’s new about Expo 2020?
El Hashimy believes that Expos are not just about iconic buildings and innovations.
“They are gatherings, where visitors and participants can learn, innovate and have fun sharing ideas, celebrating cultures and working together on common goals. All of this, while experiencing the cultural richness of the host nation,” she says.
She continues: “Expo 2020 is an excellent opportunity to show on a global scale what our region and nation is capable of achieving. The UAE can show itself at the very forefront of dialogue in matters that are at the centre of global attention, from preserving our planet for our sons, daughters and grandchildren, to connecting our brightest minds in the pursuit of universally beneficial innovations and creating jobs for youth.”
How ready is Dubai?
According to the 2016 annual review, over 80 countries confirmed their participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, which can be considered a great level of commitment this far ahead of the event.
Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the World Expo 2020 Preparatory Committee, says that the year 2016 witnessed a remarkable move from conceptualization to planning, design and delivery phases.
“To support this progress, our team grew considerably, developing into a formidable force during the year… We have set challenging targets for 2017, during which we will transition from the design phase to a year of construction and the refinement of content and operation planning,” he said.
El Hashimy said that Expo 2020’s committee had set ambitious deadlines to ensure that it is ready ahead of the opening.