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29 February 2024

Expo 2020: Dubai ready to receive the world

By Wam/Staff

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, attended the first session of the seminar to discuss the 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' theme of World Expo 2020, which opened at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai on Tuesday.

Present at the seminar were Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group and President of the Supreme National Committee for Expo 2020, a number of senior officials, experts, and representatives of approximately 167 member states of the International Exhibitions Bureau, based in Paris, which is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing the process of selecting the host countries for international expos.

Before the session, Sheikh Mohammed met with 250 representatives and international experts participating in the three day seminar, individually welcoming and greeting them, and wishing them success in their discussions for the theme of Expo 2020, in the event of winning the bid to host this renowned international event.

Sheikh Mohammed also wished for a pleasant stay in the UAE for all the guests, who represent 167 countries, and hoped that they would absorb the historical and contemporary landmarks of Dubai's heritage, as well as the culture of Emirati people.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, was the first speaker in the session, which was also attended by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Co-operation, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State and Managing Director of the Supreme National Committee for Expo 2020, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of Dubai Ruler's Court, members of the Higher National Committee for Dubai Expo 2020 and a number of senior officials, along with a number of heads of diplomatic and  consular missions in the country.

Sheikh Nahyan affirmed that Sheikh Mohammed has qualified and knowledgeable teams of long experience in various fields, led by His Highness with all wisdom and efficiency, and these teams can implement his vision for the UAE's future in order to be number one globally.

Addressing the Bureau members, Sheikh Nahyan said: "Dubai and the entire UAE will be ready for that visit.  In a sense, we have prepared for it since our founding in 1971.  We have capitalised on our natural resources and our desire to be a global force for prosperity and peace.  We have sought the advice and assistance of skilled people from around the world and have formed lasting international partnerships.  We have built a country that plays a prominent role in regional and international affairs – a country where people from close to 200 other nations work and live in peace and harmony.  Together we have transformed our landscape and provided a safe and stable environment that nurtures imaginative innovation. We have strong institutions that make continued prosperity and growth possible. We have connected minds and created our future. As our expo bid will coincide with the Golden Jubilee of our nation, it will surely be an extraordinary event. The atmosphere in the UAE will pulsate with energy and fuel an unforgettable Expo."

He went on: “As many of you know,  I grew up in Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s neighboring emirate.  The capital city of Abu Dhabi has emerged as a remarkable global city that will naturally attract and welcome many of the visitors to Dubai Expo 2020.  But everyone in Abu Dhabi and our other emirates knows that Dubai is our city best suited for the Expo.  Dubai has always exuded energy, confidence, imagination, adventurous daring, and breathtaking enterprise.  Our President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahayan knows that Dubai can achieve all the goals it sets for itself.  He relies on the Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, as his Vice President and Prime Minister.  They form a powerful team that is concentrating on our country’s role in global development and the vital importance of Mobility, Sustainability, and Opportunity.

"Our country is a land of opportunity.  The UAE attracts and motivates entrepreneurs.  Dubai’s entrepreneurial spirit will inspire visitors to Dubai Expo 2020.  They will see new opportunities for themselves and resolve to seize them.  We have, for example, firmly grasped the opportunity to educate our young men and women. 
The founder of our nation, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, declared that a prosperous future depended on our ability, and I quote, "to build our country with education and knowledge and nurture generations of educated men and women."  His wisdom has guided us.  Your hosts on the ground at the Expo will be university graduates who have connected with other minds in the classroom, through the internet, and within the international population of Dubai.  Some of those future hosts are in the auditorium today.  They possess a global viewpoint and are fluent in both Arabic and English at the very least.  They represent our vision of the future."

Sheikh Nahyan pointed out that as the world observes Energy Day today, in Dubai and the UAE every day is energy day. 

"Despite the fact that we are a major oil and gas producer, we have diversified our economy and hold sustainability as the core of our strategic vision and policies. We intend to demonstrate to the rest of the world sure ways for gaining energy and resource efficiency. 

“Many of you will visit Masdar City later today and will witness an unprecedented carbon-neutral urban complex being developed on 6 sq km in Abu Dhabi.  It will house hundreds of companies and a research institute, in addition to 40,000 residents and 50,000 commuters.  The International Renewable Energy Agency known as IRENA is establishing its permanent headquarters in Masdar City.  Through our active engagement with IRENA, our country is closely linked to the international research and development activities that promise to create the new energy technologies that our planet needs.  The pavilions and facilities at Dubai World Central, the site for Dubai Expo 2020, will draw on our dedication to sustainability so that at least half of the required energy will come from renewable sources.  We understand that our future depends on sustainability."

“We depend also on mobility to connect minds and create a bright future.  Dubai exemplifies the value of mobility.  Incomparable airports and seaports enable easy access to the city.  Well-engineered roads and highways allow Dubai’s automobiles, taxis, and buses to navigate swiftly and efficiently.  An unparalleled metro system provides comfortable transportation throughout the city.  The most advanced information and communication technologies ensure that our personal movement breaks no connections and even encourages more,” he said. 

Sheikh Nahyan said the UAE women enjoy one of the world’s highest rates of attending colleges and universities.  They participate in public life without any hindrance.  They move freely within the workplace and occupy positions of leadership and influence. 

"We encourage mobility at every possible turn. In ancient times, our horses and camels were not only used for mobility, but they represented perseverance, determination and excellence. Until today, we love our horses, which, as Sheikh Mohammed knows, are among the best in the world.  Our camels too are also cherished.  We long ago began our journey into the future on camels and still treasure them dearly today.

“But Dubai today hurls into the future at a Mach speed. Dubai is the dynamic hub of a vast, vibrant, and ever accelerating global market that serves over two billion people across the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, and beyond.  We have experienced remarkable change.  It may well be our cultural values of hospitality, courtesy, respect, and understanding that ultimately persuade you to support Dubai Expo 2020.  Certainly those values will characterise our conduct of that great event just as they have guided our relationship with our international population, constituted as it is by thousands and tens of thousands of people from the very countries whose citizens will visit Dubai Expo 2020."

Highlighting UAE's respect for all people, Sheikh Nahyan said: "Many of you know that Muslims are commanded to respect people of other beliefs. In the Holy Qur’an, God tells all human beings: "O people! We have created you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."  Mutual understanding and respect for people of various faiths and ethnicities have enabled Dubai to become a destination desired by residents and visitors from all over the world.   Accommodations are splendid and plentiful.  Restaurants are wonderfully diversified, and the cuisine is as delicious as you can taste anywhere."

He noted that Dubai’s attitude cannot be beaten. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, if you want an incomparable EXPO – if you want an EXPO that provides living experiences that blend the many diverse elements of the global society – if you want an Expo that expresses the state and aspirations of the world, you have come to the right city – for Dubai is a city dedicated to human progress – a city whose success is based on the innovation and creative energy of its people – a city that values the educational power of Dubai Expo 2020 – a city whose leader is a man of wisdom and vision – and a city that has always been a crossroads for people, ideas, and commerce, and has always welcomed travelers and visitors with unconditional hospitality. Today we offer that hospitality to the world."

Expo 2020: Dubai to spend Dh5 billion on transport network

Dubai will allocate Dh5 billion for the development of its road network to serve an expected influx of 25 million visitors to the Expo if the emirate wins a bid to host the prestigious world event, an official was quoted on Tuesday as saying.

The plan covers all means of transport including buses and trains besides mega projects to expand roads in various areas and set up direct links to Expo site, which will be built between Jebel Ali free zone and Dubai Trade Centre, said Matar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

“TRA has earmarked Dhfive billion for road and transport development in case Dubai wins the bid to host Expo,” he told the Arabic language daily Al Khaleej.

He said the project covers many areas in the emirate, including Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Road, the University City Street, roads leading to Expo area, and intersections on several streets besides setting up car parks and stops for buses and taxis.

“We believe that Dubai already has the infrastructure to cope with such a major event. All we need is some expansion and development of the existing facilities so they can handle 25 million people in six months,” he said.

He said Metro expansion projects would allow Dubai to cope with an expected increase in its population to nearly 3.1 million in 2020, around 4.1 million in 2025 and 6.1 million in 2030. “

The project in the long term involves the addition of 221 km to the present train road network and 69 new stations,” he said.

Emiratis climb Mount Kilimanjaro in support for Expo 2020

In an initiative to highlight the UAE's  bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai, Expo bid premier partner DP World has supported a group of young people from the UAE to take the Expo Bid flag to the highest point in Africa – the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

Twenty-three year old Emirati Hamad Sharaf and five climbing companions from Lebanon and Canada who are residents of the UAE spent six days trekking to the top of the 5,895 metre high mountain where they proudly flew the Expo flag.

Hamad Sharaf said, "We wanted to show our support for the bid and we thought climbing the highest mountain in Africa was symbolic of how, with passion and determination, obstacles can be overcome and challenges met. It is this spirit that has made Dubai and the UAE what they are today, and it is that spirit that makes our bid for Expo 2020 so strong."

He added, "Hosting Expo in 2020 is hugely important for Emiratis and other UAE residents of my generation, giving us the opportunity to connect and share ideas with people from around the world. That our climbing team was made up of a number of different nationalities also reflects the diversity of the UAE, which around 200 nationalities call home.  We hope to be able to celebrate when the votes are cast next month."

The 167 member countries of the Expo secretariat, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), will vote on  November 27 on who will host Expo in 2020.

There are four finalists – the UAE, Russia, Turkey and Brazil.
Under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Dubai’s Expo 2020 bid focuses on three areas: Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.

Around 250 BIE delegates are currently visiting Dubai for a two -day symposium to hear more about the theme of the proposed Expo and to get to know Dubai and the UAE. 

Sheikh Ahmed meets Expo delegations at theme symposium

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group and Chairman of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, has met a number of delegations of participant countries during the Dubai Expo 2020 Theme Symposium.

The meetings were attended by Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Dubai Ruler’s Court, who serves as Deputy Chairman and Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and the Committee's Managing Director.

Representatives from the 167 member nations of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the international organisation that oversees World Expo, are currently visiting the UAE for the Dubai Expo 2020 Theme Symposium, titled ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future: Partnerships for Global Innovation and Sustainable Development.’

‘UAE keen to become global leader in smart technologies’

Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, has re-affirmed the keen interest of the UAE, under the leadership of the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in becoming a global leader in the use of smart technologies, supported by the tireless efforts of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Saif made his remarks as he toured the venue of 33rd edition of Gitex Technology Week taking place in Dubai, where he expressed admiration at the organisation of the event.

He said, "The UAE is incessantly stepping up its efforts to become a world leader in terms of the use of smart technologies for serving members of the public. All federal ministries and local departments are making efforts to fulfill the vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for a total shift to smart services."

Sheikh Saif added," The UAE's leadership's efforts ensure the country's capability for leading the future in fulfillment of the theme of EXPO 2020: 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future' in order to further bolster the international stature of the country."