Sustainability and innovation at Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai, a six month extravaganza of culture, architecture, entertainment, global cuisine, and more places sustainability at center stage, affirming a strong commitment to preserving the earth for our future generations.

The current Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo ever hosted in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia region and the largest event ever that is held in the Arab World. The six-month event which started from 1 October 2021 will run till 31 March 2022 and is an extravaganza of culture, architecture, entertainment, global cuisine, and more. It will attract more than 200 organizations including 192 nations, each with their own pavilion, a World Expo first. Through the different theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future, Expo 2020 is providing a platform to encourage creativity, innovation, and collaboration across our subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. In the process, the expo is inspiring millions of visitors to act and create a better future for our planet.

Sustainability is the main topic in this year’s Expo 2020 Dubai. There are huge pavilions and designs which reflect the ideas of promoting sustainable ideas for future projects and coming years. From recycling to promoting natural solutions, the Expo 2020 Dubai inspires others to reaffirm their commitment to the environment and protecting the Earth for future generations. All of our actions are geared towards creating positive environmental impacts on a national, regional, and global scale, and support the Dubai Plan 2021, UAE Vision 2021, and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Sustainability is an important concept for Expo 2020 Dubai. The Dubai Expo’s International Sustainability team has been working with private and public partners to minimize the environmental impact of the six-month event to preserve the infrastructure that has been developed for it, long after the curtain has fallen.

The opening week of Expo 2020 was themed Climate and Biodiversity Week, aimed at raising global ambitions for climate action and environmental protection. As another immediate example of reusing infrastructure, the Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (Wetex) and Dubai Solar Show will both be held at the Expo 2020 Dubai site, where more than 1,200 companies from 55 countries will convene to showcase the opportunities that come with climate action and the green energy transition. Then there’s the energy required to run the site and the pavilions. Fifty percent of it is being generated by renewable sources; all the permanent builds are fitted with solar panels and other clean energy systems with a combined total capacity of 5.5 megawatts.

For context, that’s enough energy to do approximately 180,000 round trips from Downtown Dubai to the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Standout examples of this include the net-zero energy and water building, Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, which is aiming to become a Platinum-certified LEED building. The Pavilion is surrounded by 18 Energy Trees. These ingenious structures are equipped with more than 4,900 solar panels which are programmed to face the sun and soak up its rays during the daytime, like enormous sunflowers, capable of producing four gigawatt-hours of alternative energy a year.

With innovation like this at the heart of the Expo site, it’s little wonder that the site is on track to receive LEED certification for more than 120 of its permanent buildings – 95 of which are targeting LEED Gold, while four are targeting LEED Platinum, the highest LEED recognition. Expo 2020 is also highlighting a major milestone for renewable energy in the region, with the official inauguration of the Middle East and North Africa’s first industrial-scale, solar-powered green hydrogen facility, in collaboration with Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) and Siemens Energy. This is the critical decade for climate, innovation, and partnerships. The demand that we all come together in the pursuit of a common goal is seen in this year’s Expo. The global collaborative effort at the Expo where countries pavilions highlight the best of their expertise and knowledge of climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. This is evident from the Singapore Pavilion, themed Nature, Nurture, Future, representing the garden city and the nexus between nature and the built environment.

The Netherlands Pavilion is a miniature ecosystem, brimming with sustainable solutions for water, energy, and food. Meanwhile, the Mozambique and Seychelles pavilions will offer visitors glimpses into their quest for accessible energy and the glorious deep-sea treasures that we must preserve at all costs, respectively.

The Cuba Pavilion will tell of the country’s evolution in renewables and biotech, while the Comoros Pavilion puts recycling in the spotlight.

The German Pavilion will showcase some of Europe’s cutting-edge sustainability innovations, and the Czech Republic Pavilion displays how to extract water vapor from the air using solar energy – something that will be of keen interest to those of us who live among arid desert climes. And this is just a sample of the great plethora of country pavilions highlighting human ingenuity and innovative ways to support all life on our planet in the years ahead.

Combined, the 200 pavilions at the Expo site – 191 of which represent participating countries – offer a glimpse into a future world powered by clean energy underpinned by sustainability.

This is a world we are designing collaboratively and collectively. Spurred on by a vision of making tomorrow better, the UAE is moving from a world of pure imagination to reality at great speed.

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