With the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic having led to various degrees of restrictions around the world – often for extended periods – keeping an active body and mind emerged as a key challenge. This is of particular importance for children and teenagers, whose active lifestyles were in some cases abruptly halted by stay-at-home limitations and school closures.
With two billion people in the world lacking access to toilet facilities, poor sanitation is a global problem responsible for the transmission of diseases, malnutrition and an estimated 432,000 deaths annually. This issue is easily preventable, with investment in improved sanitation reaping significant long-term benefits on health and well-being.
An estimated one billion people around the world are living with disabilities, and while great strides have been made towards inclusion, people of determination remain at a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion. As a result of physical barriers, unsuitable tools and discrimination, the employment rate is significantly lower than the overall average.
When faced with challenges, we naturally turn to experts, scientists, engineers and researchers to find and create appropriate solutions. But what if we also asked and listened to children for their ideas on improving the world?
For rural and pastoral communities in cross-border regions, restrictions on mobility as well as limited resources can pose a major challenge to livelihoods. Coupled with the impact of climate change and intercommunity tensions, the situation can rapidly hamper the whole region’s economic and social well-being.
Half the world’s population does not have access to essential health services, a figure that is all the more dramatic in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. With many of the world’s poorest countries having less than one doctor per 1,000 people, improving access to healthcare is a global priority.
About half of the wood cut down every year around the world is used to produce energy, mostly as fuel for cooking and heating. While this significant and unsustainable use of wood fuel perpetuates deforestation and contributions towards carbon emissions, the livelihoods and survival of many of the world’s poorest people relies on such energy, with one third of the global population dependent on wood or charcoal for cooking.
Around the world, almost half of all deaths in children aged under five are caused by poor nutrition. Chronic malnutrition in children stunts the development of the brain and body, increasing the likelihood of illness and negatively affecting the child's chances of staying in education – leading to lower earnings and ultimately trapping people in a cycle of poverty.
Early childhood care and education offers pre-primary-school-age children the opportunity to develop emotional and social capabilities required to thrive in school, and increases their chances of reaching their full potential later in life. Yet only about one in five young children in low-income countries are enrolled in pre-school, and many working parents have little choice but to leave their young children with informal or inadequate care providers.
Around the world, the continuous growth of cities puts pressure on the environment and particularly on water resources; it is estimated that 80 per cent of wastewater is released into the environment without adequate treatment. With two thirds of the world’s population living in severe water scarcity at least one month per year, it is vital to manage water resources in a sustainable manner.
The production of construction materials has a significant negative environmental impact: cement alone accounts for between five and 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (UNEP). In addition, plastic waste is an increasing global problem, oceans expected to contain more plastic than fish by 2050. With the world’s rising population, plastic waste and demand for construction materials are also set to grow.
Only nine per cent of all plastic ever produced has been recycled; 12 per cent has been incinerated and 79 per cent has ended up in landfill or the natural environment. Global production of plastic waste is about 300 million tonnes every year, almost equivalent to the weight of the entire human population. Plastic waste related to food and beverages – including plastic bottles, bags, straws, wrappers, cups and utensils – are a significant portion of this total.
When people are forced to flee their homes due to war, persecution or natural disaster, the provision of basic necessities is the utmost priority, but their welfare is also heavily dependent on the environment of where they settle. Deforestation, soil erosion and the depletion and pollution of water resources are among the most significant challenges that can be associated with the arrival and residency of internally displaced people and refuges.
Around the world, a staggering one billion people suffer from some form of preventable or treatable vision impairment. This ranges from moderate and severe vision impairment to blindness, with the leading cause being uncorrected refractive errors and cataracts. A lack of access to necessary medical equipment and professionals means that visual impairment is four times higher in in low- and middle-income countries compared to high-income regions.
The FAO estimates that around one third of global food production is lost or wasted each year, a subject that was at the heart of the most recent World Expo – Expo 2015 Milan, themed “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. This challenge is a global one – rich countries waste around the same amount of food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, hunger remains a global problem with around 9% of the world’s population lacking access to sufficient food.
Accessing mental health services can be a major challenge, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where more than 65 million people suffer from mental health issues. Care providers are stretched thin, with as few as one psychiatrist per 100,000 people in the MENA region, while social stigma, discrimination and neglect often prevent people from attending psychotherapy clinics or seeking help. With two-thirds of global population not seeking treatment because of these challenges, and suicide the second-highest cause of death among young people, the need for mental health services is greater than ever.
The impact of climate change, infrastructure projects and increased population means that 2 billion people around the world are expected to be vulnerable to flood disaster by 2050. While addressing the causes of flooding is essential, it is also imperative to improve flood resilience in the most affected areas, with people’s lives and livelihoods increasingly threatened by intense and unpredictable weather events.
Through containment, adapting to live with the virus and last but not least the vaccine rollout, it is now possible to envisage a sense of normality in the global economy. With this perspective, Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be the first event of its scale to take place, serving to re-kickstart the global meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions (MICE) industry as well as international tourism.
Education is perhaps the most effective way to pull children out of poverty and addressing social problems, yet 260 million children around the world are out of school. This is why a group of concerned citizens in Pakistan created The Citizens Foundation (TCF), a non-government organisation aimed at improving access to education as a way of reducing social barriers and making students become agents of positive change.
Climate change, unsustainable farming practices and deforestation not only pose serious challenges for biodiversity and the protection of nature, but in many places also threaten the livelihoods of indigenous communities.
Only about 0.007 per cent of the planet’s water is available for human consumption, with the vast majority of water – in frozen glaciers or seawater – of no use for drinking, cooking, bathing or cleaning. Furthermore, the scarcity of freshwater is exacerbated by polluted rivers, lakes and groundwater, and the depletion of these water sources in many populated areas.
Around the world, 785 million people lack access to safe water and children are amongst the most affected by the threats linked to a lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene services. While these diseases are preventable, every 90 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
Desertification, and specifically the loss of fertile arable land, is a phenomenon that poses a major threat to global food production, particularly in the developing world. About 12 million hectares of arable land is lost to erosion each year, and it is estimated that land degradation in the next 25 years has the potential to reduce global food production by up to 12% (UNCCD).
Vaccine wastage is a global problem: WHO estimates that up to half of all vaccines are lost every year, largely due to the vials not being stored at the right temperature during storage and transport.
For this reason, many children miss out on essential vaccinations. To help combat this issue, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme selected the UNICEF Drones Programme, which works towards efficiently delivering vaccines via drones, as a way to spotlight and expand the initiative on a global scale.
At least 2.2 billion people are blind or visually impaired. That’s more than a third of the global population who may have difficulties with daily tasks that are dependent on the ability to see correctly: checking expiration dates, distinguishing colours, reading instructions, etc.
What would you do to save the only planet that we’ve got?
We were able to learn a lot at Expo 2020 Dubai's Sustainability Pavilion - Terra. This pavilion highlights how human behavior impacts the environment and how we can help to preserve and protect it. We marveled through the forest's roots and explored under the ocean as we learn more about our planet. We also participated in several informative and interactive activities on-site. One structural highlight of this pavilion is its massive 130-metre wide canopy featuring 1,055 solar panels - capable of generating 4GWh of renewable energy.
On 1 October 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai will open to the public, embarking visitors on a discovery of its theme, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”, through educational and immersive exhibitions and events. Less than six months before it opens, the achievements of the Expo Live programme demonstrates the real-life impact that Expo 2020 Dubai is already having around the world. Yousuf Caires, Senior Vice President, Expo Live, explains the importance of this unique initiative and offers a glimpse of how Expo 2020 Dubai is delivering positive change.
As an architect, I was eagerly anticipating my visit to Terra - Expo 2020 Dubai's Sustainability Pavilion, a project that has acquired LEED platinum certification, the highest available accreditation for sustainable architecture.
The videos and photos posted by Expo 2020 Dubai have always raised my curiosity, so I was very excited for the Pavilion Premiere so I could visit the site. In terms of technology, creativity and thought process, World Expos are always ahead of the times.
I am Samantha, a Flight Attendant with Emirates Airline originally from Zimbabwe. My first World Expo experience was visiting Expo 2010 Shanghai, which I enjoyed so much that I could not wait for Dubai to host Expo 2020!
Visiting Terra - the Sustainability Pavilion was an experience like no other, there is something intriguing and educational everywhere you turn. The experience of being at the pavilion opened up my eyes to the fact that WE CAN live in harmony with nature - if we just chose to, and line up small everyday decisions with this all important decision.
We are Ernestas and Daryna, a travel couple, who were lucky to be able to visit Dubai and get to experience the Expo 2020 Dubai Pavilion Premiere! The experience was unique and felt like it was a visit to the future.
One of the things we really loved about visiting Expo 2020 Dubai's Sustainability Pavilion was how it covered key topics, such as climate change, in a fun and unique way and encouraged us to be more mindful. We hope you enjoy the video and get a glimpse into Expo 2020 Dubai through our eyes!
On 4 February, the United Nations and countries around the world are marking, for the first time, the International Day of Human Fraternity. Maher Nasser, the Commissioner-General of the United Nations at Expo 2020 Dubai, takes this occasion to explain the significance of this new International Day and to reflect on the role that World Expos can play in reaffirming and strengthening global solidarity.
Never more so than today has the world required refreshed and optimistic social capital as a way of bridging the divides between us, celebrating our culture, and collectively tackling global issues. World Expos, by design, are incredible platforms for generating and demonstrating social capital — both locally and internationally. This capital can be harvested from like-minded but culturally and socially diverse groups — which contribute significantly to cities, nations, and regions, and broader socioeconomic, political, and environmental successes. At Expo 2020 Dubai, the stage is set to bring millions of people together from around the world to reaffirm our global commonalities and responsibilities, and to share with one another our national and cultural individualities with the goal of making the world a better place for future generations.
Al Wasl Plaza, designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, will be the centrepiece of Expo 2020 Dubai. With one year until the opening of the World Expo, Gordon Gill explains what Al Wasl Plaza is, and shares his thoughts on how this central hub will make a dramatic impression on visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai and have a lasting impact on Dubai.
Preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai are continuing as the world faces an unprecedented health crisis. While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting people’s lives in many different ways, participating countries are finding new and creative ways to interpret the theme of the Expo, “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and plan their pavilions. The BIE asks H.E. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Commissioner General for Bahrain, Paolo Glisenti, Commissioner General for Italy, Adrian Malinowski, Commissioner General for Poland, and Pyung-oh Kwon, Commissioner General for the Republic of Korea, about the journey towards the next World Expo.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is changing lives around the world and raising important questions about what kind of future is best for the planet and for humankind. World Expo 2020 Dubai – now set to open to the public on 1 October 2021 following a vote by the General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) – will address these questions and more, as 190 countries gather around the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.
In an interview with the BIE, Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General for Finland, Clayton Kimpton, Commissioner General for New Zealand, Fahad A. Alyabis, Commissioner General for Saudi Arabia, and Laura Faulkner OBE, Commissioner General for the United Kingdom, reflect on the opportunities Expo 2020 Dubai will bring to the post-Covid era.
The World Expo is arguably the single biggest showcasing event of a nation outside of its own borders. It is one of the few mass events that still commands worldwide attention. But unlike the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup, the World Expo is not a “media event;” rather, the spectacle is to be sensed and experienced by “being there.”
Dubai and the United Arab Emirates will be on the global stage when Expo 2020 Dubai – the first World Expo in the Arab world – opens to great anticipation. At the heart of the Expo, the Sustainability Pavilion is an ambitious and innovative signature structure whose design and contents will captivate the world. The pavilion is a chance for Dubai and the UAE to lead a new approach to sustainability and conservation, showcasing interesting and innovative methodologies of adapting to ecology and climate, while promoting long term solutions for society.
From cordless elevators to machines that make water from thin air, visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai, can expect to discover a myriad of cutting-edge technologies that will shape the future, just as visitors to past Expos were offered a glimpse of what was to come.
Dubai is getting ready to host an estimated 25 million visitors for Expo 2020 Dubai. Recently, on 20 October, the entire United Arab Emirates (UAE) celebrated the one-year countdown to the Middle East’s first-ever World Expo.
The one year to go Expo 2020 launch event was held mainly at the Burj Park in the heart of downtown Dubai - home to the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Mall, the Dubai Fountains and the Dubai Opera. It was a star-studded event, with live performances from Mariah Carey and Emirati singer Hussain Al Jassmi. So popular in fact that the 7,500 tickets to the event reportedly “sold out within seconds.”
Throughout their entire 160-year plus history, World Expos have been catalysts for change, showcasing ground-breaking innovations that still impact the world today and sparking discussions that have changed the course of our future. Expo 2020 Dubai will be no exception.
It is impressive to grasp the economic growth the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been through in a short amount of time and to see the current economic development across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), like in Saudi Arabia and Oman.
The UAE has not only chosen its theme to showcase to the world in October 2020 (when Expo 2020 Dubai will commence) but in practice, the country is already living and breathing it. “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” – this is the theme of Expo 2020 Dubai. Specifically, the World Expo has three subthemes – Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
With 600 days until Expo 2020 Dubai, more than 20 countries have unveiled the design of their pavilions.
Here’s an overview of what has already been announced, offering a preview of how each country will interpret the theme of Expo 2020: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” as well as the three subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago is often referenced as one of the most successful Expos in history. Its theme celebrated the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. Particularly for those from Chicago, including myself, it is unanimously considered that the Expo left a positive legacy in our great city.
Having recently moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seeing Dubai prepare for Expo 2020, both on a professional level with my work in economic development and internationalisation, as well as on a personal level, I see some immediate similarities between Chicago’s legacy of Expo 1893 and Dubai’s upcoming Expo 2020.
There is no greater priority at this time than cultivating a more sustainable way of living to ensure viability of our natural resources for future generations. It is a mission of universal importance; a priority for Dubai, the UAE, our region and the entire world.
Fossil-fuel dependant transport accounts for nearly one quarter of worldwide CO2 emissions linked to energy, and the trend is set to increase as access to different forms of transport becomes more widespread in developing countries. This raises questions over the future of mobility: how will people move around cities, around countries, and across oceans in the future, in a sustainable manner?
Looking to the future, a potentially revolutionary form of transport is set to be available for visitors to Expo 2020 Dubai, the next World Expo. According to developers’ plans, an integrated Hyperloop system will be ready by the opening of the Expo to transport people and goods at supersonic speeds between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Energy consumption in buildings accounts for over one third of final energy consumption globally. The OECD estimates that buildings account for more than 40% of energy consumption in developed countries, largely through electricity use.
Fortunately, buildings have the capacity to make a significant contribution to a more sustainable future, if energy-saving methods are integrated into their design. An early example of sustainable construction was showcased at Expo 1992 Seville, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The United Kingdom’s pavilion at Expo 1992 embodied the concept of energy self-sufficiency by combining avant-garde architecture with the capacity to generate renewable energy such as solar power.