Dubai emerging as top candidate

Work in the UAE’s commercial capital Dubai is progressing in top gear as it gets ready to host the World Expo 2020.

Dubai and three other global cities have emerged the final bidders for the prestigious expo, and the winner is scheduled to be announced in November this year following a vote by the 163 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the Paris-based inter-governmental organisation responsible for World Expo.

Philosophically, politically, creatively, logistically, Dubai is already coming together to deliver a World Expo that will inspire all who experience it and live long in the collective memory.

With sophisticated cargo facilities, driverless metros and an increased take-up of new technology, the UAE is one of many countries adopting innovative transport strategies for a future world.

For its bid to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, the UAE has selected the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, has said: “Connected thinking is the best hope for progress and for successful and peaceful existence in the generations to come.”

These connections – between people, nations, and ideas – created Dubai itself. Whether a small village in the early 20th century, or the bustling metropolis it is today, Dubai is a manifestation of connectivity.

A city of Arabia, Dubai is also a city of the world. In supporting Dubai’s bid to host the World Expo 2020, Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, says: “Dubai, and UAE, has modernised itself, taken on top projects, brought people together in a number of amazing ways, and I think Dubai will be a great location for a World Expo.”

2021 will be the 50th anniversary of the UAE. In the life of an individual, half a century is a long time. Yet, 50 years makes the UAE one of the youngest countries on the planet, with one of the most youthful populations – 50 per cent is under 20.

The rapid development of the UAE and Dubai shows what’s possible here. Dubai is set to harness the same energy and enthusiasm in microcosm at the Expo site.

The UAE is logistically ready to host a World Expo. Two-thirds of the world’s population now lives within an eight-hour flight of Dubai.

Just under 9 million visitors made the trip here last year.

About 80,000-plus hotel rooms will keep visitors comfortable during their visit to the Expo. Unrivalled connectivity, superb logistics and world-class infrastructure are at the heart of Dubai’s bid.

“The UAE has taken its success and is willing to invest in new learning, new innovation. It’s great to see that that kind of long-term approach is part of how [it is] taking [its] success and becoming a hub for people of different regions,” says Bill Gates.

“A lot of gathering is done here because [it is] a place that is looking forward, a place where everybody is willing to come to work together. And the digital world is magical, but I don’t think it’s going to replace meetings or expos anytime in my lifetime,” he adds.

As the world today reassesses its economic, political and environmental paradigm, we face unprecedented challenges. The growing complexity of our increasingly interconnected societies is forcing us to rethink our frameworks for growth and development. Be it the global financial crisis, food security, transnational threats, fighting poverty, unemployment or social upheavals, a collaborative and connected approach to addressing such challenges remains key.

Dubai Expo 2020 will be a platform for connectivity to help pioneer new partnerships for growth and sustainability. It will seek out and attract forward thinkers and innovators to showcase great achievements, to promote new models for growth, to advance new ideas for connectivity and to share roadmaps for progress.

In today’s interdependent society no country, organisation or discipline can survive the challenges of the future alone. Dubai Expo 2020 would inspire the partnerships required to meet the world’s changing needs. The three issues that will form the subthemes for Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid are:

Sustainability: Intelligent Sources of Energy and Water

Significant innovation in the production, delivery and consumption of these natural resources is vital. Providing access to energy and safe water for everyone, and creating cultures that embrace sustainability are key challenges. Existing energy and water techniques must be adapted and made viable from industrial, economic and social perspectives to secure availability in the future.

Mobility: New Systems of Logistics and Transportation

Efficient logistics and transportation systems are a lifeline that connect people, goods and services around the world. They affect our cities, how we travel, how goods are shipped, and how effectively humanitarian aid can be delivered. New sources of innovation are constantly being explored with the goal of creating an integrated solution for all modes of transportation using a common IT platform.

Opportunity: New Paths to Economic Development

In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, and as more emerging countries join the world economy, new universal models for sustainable economic development and financial stability must be established. An understanding of the various competitive advantages of nations and corporations is required in order to grow responsibly in the face of environmental and demographic changes.

In today’s highly interconnected world, a renewed vision of progress and development based on shared purpose and commitment is key. While a single human mind, an individual country, or a specific community is both unique and remarkable, it is by working collaboratively that we truly advance.

A World Expo in Dubai in 2020 would be the first to be held in the MENASA (Middle East, North Africa and South Asia) region.

As the global community faces ever more complex, and increasingly interconnected challenges, the links between people, societies and ideas have never been more important. Dubai Expo 2020 will be a platform for connectivity to help pioneer new partnerships for growth and sustainability for the future.

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