Expo 2020: Identifying with theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’
The main corporate supporters in Dubai identify themselves with the Dubai Expo 2020 theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the future’. All of them agree that it is the most apt theme in today’s world. Etisalat CEO Saleh Al Abdooli finds it in consonance with the domain of Etisalat. Etisalat, as he puts it, is always connecting people using futuristic technologies. They consider that the World Expo will bring together the best thought processes and minds to find solutions for the present and the future.
UAE is regarded as a nerve centre for trade, tourism and telecommunications and Etisalat is what helps them being connected in every sense of the word. It helps in weaving the fine social and cultural fabric of UAE which is home to over 200 nationalities who live in peace alongside UAE nationals.
Etisalat finds the sub themes of the Expo a reflection of their values. Sustainbility according to Mr. Abdooli, has be close to their heart. They always believed in growing in a way that sustains the people and culture of the land. Their corporate responsibility extends to environment and it has been a constant effort at Etisalat to bring down carbon footprint and thus add their bit in saving the environment from greenhouse effect. Etisalat has always thought ahead for a future that is safe and productive for the coming generations.
On being asked on his arguments favouring UAE to host the Expo, Mr. Abdooli said,“UAE and Dubai is a wider gateway for Middle East. We as a nation welcome the whole world nations and no doubt expo 2020 is an exclusive opportunity for the United Arab Emirates to help and join other countries to shape better shared future.” He continued that Dubai and UAE will mobilize resources and employ the finest talent and utilize capabilities to the hilt and deliver with excellence that they are known for. He expressed his confidence by adding, “Who wouldn’t want to come here?”
His confidence seems to be justified when we come to know about the venue. The main venue for the Dubai Expo 2020, Dubai World Trade Centre’s Director General Helal Saeed Al Marri explained how they zeroed in on the venue. The factors that helped the decision were:
- Easy Accessibility
- Multi tier Connectivity
- International Visibility
In lieu with the theme, Connectivity, Dubai world trade Centre offered comprehensive connectivity. It had proven capability for simplified operations and logistics that the Expo participants would require. It was also easily accessible by air and sea and being located in the Jebel Ali had high international visibility. Never before in the history of the World Expos has such a huge area been completely dedicated for the Expo. Spread over an expanse of 438-hectares, this venue is mammoth in proportions. Being easily accessible by air and sea routes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is another advantage. It is roughly equidistant from Abu Dhabi and Dubai and it takes only 30mins to Al Maktoum International Airport while it takes 40 mins to Abu Dhabi Airport.
Sustainability and green economy initiatives are at the core of the whole project. This adherence has begun from the bid stages itself. Ever since His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum launched the Green Economy Initiative in January 2012, the UAE government has incorporated it into every single plan. This has been religiously followed in the master plan too where in all aspects of environment be it, water, energy, waste disposal, material management, civic amenities or public awareness –each has been planned according best international practices and effort has been to better it. Few examples explain it better:
- Renewable Solar energy for power: Integrating photovoltaic panels wherever possible and and encouraging participants to opt for and integrate similar in their pavilion designs.
- Judicious use of water: A three pronged approach to water usage: reduced demand, efficient use and re-use.
- Greening the environs: Use of indigenous plants in landscape design and utilization of Treated Sewage Effluent for district cooling and irrigation.
- Waste management: Make expo 2020 a shining example by less waste generation
- Environment friendly transport: Aims to be car free venue with park-and-ride facilities and the ‘ExpoRider’ bus service. The red line of Dubai metro to be extended. Cable cars also proposed.
- Reuse and recycle post event: Infrastructure and buildings to reused and in some cases even relocated. All the anchor structures like the Welcome Pavilion, the UAE Pavilion, the Innovation Pavilion and the Theme Pavilions to be reused post event. Ancillary structures like shade structures, transport systems, trees, street furniture, lighting and paving materials will also be reutilized.
Director General Helal Saeed Al Marri added,“Adopting strategies like above mentioned will make it sure that sustainable theme will bring life with the help of created environment and the delivered experience in the whole period of Expo but also it is going to be a part of site fabric.”
The design and conceptualization of the site is such that it follows a refined strategy for reuse. Envisaged to be transformed into urban centre, it will have a large exhibition centre, a full-fledged Institute zone with Research Centres and a University created from the Innovation Pavilion and the Theme Pavilions with the objective to seed thought processes that support and aid the sub themes of Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity. A National Museum will be born of The UAE National Pavilion and Welcome Pavilion. The structures will be relocated and the museum will house the history of the UAE.
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