At the 159th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), held in Paris on 15 June 2016, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy reported the progress made by the United Arab Emirates in the organisation of Expo 2020 Dubai. Several aspects of the Expo were emphasised, including the development of the Expo site, the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and partnership and engagement programs.
H.E Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State of the UAE for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, informed delegates about the progress that has been made on the Expo site since November 2015, when Expo 2020 Dubai was formally registered at the last General Assembly of the BIE. Some 4.3 million m3 of sand has already been moved to prepare for construction, and the entire Expo 2020 team has moved into new on-site offices, bringing it closer to the action.
Besides the practical elements of planning an Expo, H.E. Reem Al Hashimy drew on the Expo’s theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, stating that the UAE’s aim is to bring people together. She added that “success comes from people and from nations, creating inspirational experiences, and forging transformative relationships.” The sub-themes of the Expo – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – enrich the theme and offer the widest scope to each participant.
Preparations for the Expo at this stage also include initiatives to engage local communities and youth, with the latter forming “a distinct and strategically important audience”. Organisers have created the annual Youth Connect festival to inspire and give confidence to the next generation by means of various experiences. It is a program designed by youth for youth, and the feedback will be used to create content and communication programs that are seen as key success factors for the Expo 2020 Dubai.
Engagement with business is also under way - the Expo 2020 Dubai Procurement Portal provides updated information to companies, giving them opportunities to participate at the Expo. As a result, around 4,500 companies (mostly SMEs) from 76 different nations have already registered to participate in Expo 2020.
Additionally, Expo 2020 organisers have recently announced three ‘Premier Partnerships’ with global firms - Etisalat, Emirates Airlines, and DP World. The partnership with telecoms group Etisalat will allow the Expo to offer high-tech digital experiences as well as Wi-Fi access to 300,000 people per day, “creating the fastest, smartest site on Earth.” The partnerships with Emirates Airlines and port operator DP World will play a key role in attracting visitors, of which 70% are expected to travel to the Expo by international transport. Each of these three Premier Partners will have their own pavilion at the Expo, and each will help create a global platform to promote the UAE and Expo 2020.