Astana, a week at the heart of Expo

Last week Astana beat at the rhythm of Expo. On October 21st, the Secretary General of the BIE met with the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev. On the 22nd and 23rd, National Company Expo 2017 held its first International Planning Meeting to present the Expo project to potential future participant countries. Alongside the meeting, on the 23rd and 24th, Expo 2017 hosted the 1st edition of its Future Energy Forum, dedicated to one of the 3 subthemes of the Expo: "Reducing CO2 emissions".

Expo Astana 2017 - Mr Loscertales speaking at the International Planning Meeting

Mr. Loscertales speaking at the International Planning Meeting

These events allowed Expo Astana 2017 to officially engage with the international community, introduce the multiple facets of the event and start preparing the scientific content that will be showcased during the Expo. In a few words, last week, country representatives from all over the world, and energy related experts were given a glimpse of what Expo truly is: a space for education, innovation, and cooperation, a dialogue platform aimed at fostering sustainable progress.

A tool for cooperation
Expo is a unique meeting place that brings together a great number of countries from all over the world, as well as all kinds of stakeholders and the civil society. Expo Astana 2017 has already invited 136 countries to participate to the event, and 200 representatives of 86 countries were present at the International Planning Meeting. "Through membership with BIE, and when officially accepting an invitation to participate to an Expo, governments engage in a form of long term cooperation that has no equivalent in any other event. Your presence here is a sign of friendship that links countries and of a shared understanding that the world needs opportunities," said the Secretary General of the BIE as he opened the International Planning Meeting. The following days, over 500 leading experts in the field of energy and sustainable development discussed the issue of Reducing CO2 emissions at the Future Energy Forum and exchanged ideas and solutions, as a preview of the dynamism expected of Expo 2017.

A platform to foster innovation and progress
In the past, Expos were meant to showcase industrial and national prestige. Today, they aim at finding solutions to the world's greatest challenges. In Expo 2017, this challenge will be the future of energy. "Expo 2017 will be a platform for discussion and presentation of innovations in the global energy sector. It will help bring together the best technology in the hydrocarbon sector, in the field of energy conservation and alternative energy sources" explained Rapil Zhoshybayev Expo 2017 Commissioner.

Working towards this objective, last week's events were an important step for the preparation of the Expo content. A memorandum was signed to launch the international "Online Expo 2017" competition aimed at mobilizing the scientific potential of Kazakhstan. This contest will allow a pre-selection of the innovations that will be showcased at the Expo. The Expo organizers also launched the International commission that will select the cases for the Expo's Best Practices Area.

Education, core mission of Expos
As reminded by the Secretary General of the BIE during the Planning Meeting, the number 1 mission of Expos, as stated by the Convention of the BIE, is the education of the public. He pointed out a particular communication challenge the organizers of Expo 2017 should keep in mind: "The general public might perceive the expo as too specialized, only for technicians. I invite you to develop a multidimensional communication program that can generate an interest in Expo 2017 from all representatives of society."

Expo is also a great leverage to boost local development and national branding
For Kazakhstan, Expo 2017 will be an amazing opportunity to position itself as a leading country on the issue of sustainable energies and show the world its strategy for the future. "Future energy is a theme that is consistent with the objectives of the host country to create a sustainable and efficient economy based on the transition towards a green development model." assured the BIE Secretary General. The Expo will also allow urban development and boost tourism. Anisa Berdina, Director of the Tourism Department of Expo 2017 National Company, presented the different tours of Astana and of the country that will be organized to allow foreign and national visitors to discover Kazakhstan.

Best Practices Area – sharing solutions, building the future

On September 16th, Expo Milan 2015 held its first meeting on a key feature of World Expos: the Best Practices Area (BPA). The BPA is an exhibition area inside the Expo site that showcases a selection of successful solutions related to the Expo theme. In Milan's case for example, the BPA will showcase best practices on food security. The main idea is to create a platform to share and disseminate the initiatives that work in different parts of the world in order to inspire others in similar situations.

World Expo Shanghai 2010

Odense Best Practice Pavilion

Best Practices Areas complete Expos' mission of boosting progress
It was the BIE who first came up with the idea of the Best Practices Area. The objective was double. First, it would reinforce the Expos' missions of education and progress by providing tangible solutions to the world's biggest challenges. Secondly, it would open the Expo to new participants: anyone who had a successful case study to share could apply, from cities and regions to associations and companies.

Expo Shanghai 2010, benchmark for future Best Practices Areas
Shanghai 2010 was the first Expo to test the Best Practices Area. As the theme of Expo 2010 was "Better city, better life", the BPA was dedicated to urban best practices. They were selected according to 3 major criteria: recognition (by the international community or relevant experts), creativity and transferability (meaning the possibility to be reproduced or adapted in other areas).

World Expo Shanghai 2010

Rhône-Alpes Best Practice Pavilion

The result was outstanding. 45 cases were exhibited in a 15 ha zone. The size of the area allowed the creation of immersive exhibitions. The Chinese city of Chengdu shared how its water park is able to process and recycle water. The Makah pavilion presented how it manages to accommodate 3 million pilgrims each year in its temporary "tent city." Madrid and the Rhône Alpes region (France) built one-to-one scale eco-friendly buildings. Odense (Denmark) created an interactive exhibition to showcase the total incorporation of bikes in the city. Among many other examples.

International Specialized Expo Yeosu 2012

The Galapagos' Best Practice at Expo Yeosu 2012

Best Practices Areas become inherent to the concept of Expos
The Urban BPA was a success both in terms of visits (18,7 million visitors) and quality of the exhibits and the BIE decided to include Best Practices Areas in all future Expos. Two years later, the International Specialized Expo of Yeosu launched the Ocean and Coast Best Practices Area (OCBPA) that showcased 15 best policies, technologies, and products. To name a few, the OCBPA exhibited the Sihwa lake tidal power generation, the Galapagos'marine life census and the West Sea ecosystem preservation project. From the 8 million people who visited the Expo, over 1,6 million showed up at the OCBPA.

Next year, it will be Milan's turn, and we hope it will bring us one step closer to achieving global food security.

World Expos and the promotion of Peace, Interview of Pr. Federico Mayor

World Expo Shanghai 2010

The participating countries' flags at Expo Shanghai 2010

Promoting cooperation between countries is one of the core missions of Expos. The idea behind these global events is not only to entertain millions of visitors, it is first and foremost to provide a neutral discussion platform where the international community, companies, NGOs and citizens can figure out together solutions for a better world. The BIE believes it is the only way of solving the most important issues of humanity.

Behind this objective of fostering cooperation, lies the intrinsic ambition of promoting peace between nations. On the occasion of the International Day of Peace celebrated last Sunday all over the world, we have asked Peace advocate Federico Mayor Zaragoza about the challenges ahead to reach global peace and how Expos can contribute.

BIE: Mr Federico Mayor Zaragoza, you were Director General of UNESCO for 12 years before launching in 2000 the Foundation for a Culture of Peace (Fundacion para una cultura de Paz). What has led you to build this foundation?

Federico Mayor Zaragoza: I wanted to continue promoting the fundamental mission of UNESCO: facilitate the transition from an ancestral culture of domination, violence and war towards a culture of conversation, exchange, alliance and peace.

What is the main obstacle to achieving global peace and how can Expos help make the transition?

What has united all regions of the world for as long as I can remember is the culture of war. Based on the adage "Si vis pacem, para bellum"- if you want peace prepare for war- the absolute power of men has always organized war. It is unacceptable that over 3 000 million dollars are invested every day in weapons and military expenses, while 50 000 people die of hunger, a majority of which being children between 1 and 5 years old. We have to invest in what is truly important, like stopping the spread of Ebola virus or facilitating access to AIDS treatments. Expos can help in raising awareness and changing consciousness.

In recent years, the Civil Society has become increasingly present in World and International Specialized Expos. In light of your diplomatic experience, and your current position of director of an NGO, how would you analyse this evolution?

Citizens have gone from being scared and silent spectators to becoming true protagonists working towards a global consciousness. In a few years, with information and communication technologies, the power of citizens could become decisive. The increasing role women play in our societies is also crucial. Women have an inherent respect for life and are generally less inclined towards violence; they can greatly contribute to the promotion of peace. That's part of why I think the switch from force to dialogue is not that far away.

World Expos and your foundation share a common objective of education. According to you, in what way is education essential in building a fairer and more solidary world?

Education, according to the 1st Article of the UNESCO Constitution, means making sure all human beings are "free and responsible". This is fundamental to brighten a dark future and bring "unprecedented" solutions to "unprecedented" situations, to borrow the words of Amin Maalouf.

You have written about ocean protection, women's rights, death penalty, climate change and many other issues. What global challenges do you think future Expos should address?

I think that the most interesting challenges for Expos to address should be linked to the major global priorities: nutrition, water, health, environment, education and peace. These challenges won't be solved by an economy based on speculation, offshoring and war, but on an economy of global human sustainable development. Expos can, without a doubt, greatly contribute to this transition.

155th BIE General Assembly: Focus on all upcoming Expos

The BIE held yesterday its 155th General Assembly. This session was calmer than the previous one during which the 168 BIE member states elected the host for Expo 2020, but important decisions were made, starting with the recognition of Expo Astana 2017 and the Horticultural Expo Beijing 2019.

The recognition is an important step in the organization of an Expo. It is the formal approval by the BIE of the Expo project and it allows the host country to officially start preparing for its event and inviting countries to participate. The recognition is traditionnaly celebrated by the handing over of the BIE flag to the Expo organisers.

Expo Astana 2017 receiving the BIE flag

Expo Astana 2017 receiving the BIE flag. From left to right: Mr Jai-chul CHOI, Mr Talgat YERMEGIYAYEV, Mr Erlan IDRISSOV, Mr Ferdinand NAGY, Mr LOSCERTALES, Mr Rapil ZHOSHIBAYEV

"Recognition of the exhibition and receiving the BIE flag is a memorable event for our country" Mr Zhoshybayev, Commissioner of Expo 2017, told the Assembly. Kazakhstan has been building its recognition dossier since its election in November 2012 and the decision of the General Assembly rewards its efforts regarding the development of the Expo theme, the construction plans and regulations. Expo Astana 2017, dedicated to the theme "Future Energy", isn't conceived by the Kazakh government as a short term event but rather as a key step in developing green economy and sustainable energy in the country.

Expo Beijing 2019 receiving the BIE flag

Expo Beijing 2019 receiving the BIE flag. From left to right: Ms JIANG Zehui, Mr DENG Li, Mr XIA Zhanyi, Mr Ferdinand NAGY, Mr WANG Jinzhen, Mr Loscertales

Expo Beijing 2019 also received formal recognition from the BIE. The Expo had already been approved by the AIPH (International Association of Horticultural Producers) with who the BIE co-supervises this type of horticultural Expos. 9 years after Shanghai 2010 and 20 years after the last Chinese Horticultural Expo (Kunming 1999), China will host yet another Expo, this time dedicated to the theme "Live Green, live better." Closely linked to the concept of Green Cities advocated by the AIPH, this Expo theme will allow China to "work with countries all over the world in advocating green lifestyle as well as ecological civilization construction and pushing forward the progress of human civilization" Mr Wang, Vice Chairman of the CCPIT, explained to the General Assembly.

Another important decision of this 155th General Assembly was the approval of the date for Triennale di Milano scheduled for 2016. The Triennale, dedicated to the theme "21st Century, design after design" is intended to question and investigate possible new meanings and perspectives for both the practice and culture of design in the new millennium" said Mr Claudio de Albertis, President of the Triennale design Institution. The Expo should be recognised at the next General Assembly.

The General Assembly also allowed all upcoming Expos to present their progress reports. Scheduled to open in less than a year, the organization of Expo Milan 2015 is at full speed. According to Giuseppe Sala, Commissioner of the Italian Government for the Expo, 147 countries and organisations have confirmed their participation to the event and the site should be ready by April 2015. Antalya 2016, the next horticultural Expo before Beijing is also moving forward. 25 000 trees from over 100 species will be planted by the end of 2014, the cultural and events program is under preparation and the design for the symbolic Expo Tower will be revealed in June 2014. Invitations to participate were sent in December 2013 and 41 countries have already responded. As for Expo Dubai 2020, the organizational comity created during the bid is still working on the Expo project. The next is the preparation of the registration dossier.

This General Assembly was also the opportunity for the future candidate city of Lodz, Poland, to express its will to organize an Expo. The mayor of Lodz, Hanna Zdanowska, presented in a few words the great industrial past and the dynamic present of the city and explained the amazing opportunities an Expo would bring in terms of local development and international outreach.

World Expo Museum wants you to design its logo

World Expo Museum Logo design competition

Logo design solicitation

Designers of the world, listen up. The Shanghai-based World Expo Museum (WEM) has launched an international competition for the design of its logo. Anyone can participate, from individuals and teams of designers, to students and design lovers from across the world. Design proposals can be submitted until June 30th 2014 at 10 PM Beijing time. The winner will receive a prize of 50 000 RMB (about 8 000 US dollars) and a tour of Expo Milan 2015. The 50 shortlisted candidates will also receive a reward for their participation.

The WEM, scheduled to open in 2016, will be the first museum entirely dedicated to World Expos. Expos, also known as World's Fairs, are international events that aim at educating the public on crucial challenges of our times, showcasing innovation and fostering progress. The museum will strive to encapsulate this spirit though its positioning "Window to the world."

The World Expo Museum project

The World Expo Museum project

The museum will showcase the history of World's Fairs and the life changing innovations they launched, the significance of Expo Shanghai 2010 and the ambition of Future Expos. Through these three pillars, the WEM hopes to offer the world a museum of a new kind, based on interactive and innovative technologies and cultural activities for all and a place where the people from Shanghai and the whole world can imagine the future together.

For more information on the competition and the instructions:

About horticultural Expos with AIPH President Mr Vic Krahn (video)

We took advantage of the AIPH Spring Meeting last week to ask a few questions to the President of the Association, Mr. Vic Krahn on the objectives of Horticultural Expos.

In a few words:
Horticulture Expos are unique events that bring international attention to the field of horticulture and that display how horticulture can be used to develop more sustainable cities. With over 50% of the total world population living in cities today, the issue of ensuring a sustainable quality of life in urban areas has become essential. Horticultural Expos aim at sharing best practices, sharing opportunities, and raising awareness at an international level but also at a national and local level. The ultimate goal of Horticultural Expos is to boost the development of sustainable green infrastructure in cities, starting with Expo hosts.

About Horticultural Expos

The BIE at the International Association of Horticultural Producers

On Wednesday 2nd of April, representatives of the BIE took part in the annual Spring meeting of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH). The BIE and the AIPH have worked together since 1960 to organize Horticultural World expos. This cooperation falls within the scope of the 1928 Convention of the BIE.

Chinese Garden at the Venlo Floriade of 2012

Chinese garden at the Floriade of Venlo 2012

Horticultural Expos share the same goals as World Expos: education and progress. The magnificent gardens of Horticultural Expo "have placed at their centre the paramount issues of a healthy lifestyle, of green economy and energy, of education and innovation, of sustainable environment, and of nature as a source of inspiration for culture, arts and entertainment" analyses the BIE Secretary General in his message to the AIPH.

It is therefore not only about promoting flowers and plants, but also about understanding how good horticultural policies can have a positive impact on the sustainable management of natural resources. Developing innovative and sustainable ways to produce horticultural products can influence phenomena such as climate change and global warming.

In a world where 50% of the population lives in cities, the issue of horticulture is also crucial to ensure a healthy and sustainable urbanization. The AIPH has become a strong advocate of the Green City concept. "Plants and landscape are good for health, for wellbeing, for environmental improvement and economic performance. A Green city is a city that has the good amount of green planting and understands the value of plants in all these areas" explains Tim Briercliffe, Secretary General of the AIPH.

The next Horticultural Expos held both under the auspices of the AIPH and the BIE will be held in Antalya, Turkey in 2016.

Cameroon is now a Member State of the BIE

Cameroon Flag


The BIE welcomes Cameroon as its 168th Member State. The African country has been an active participant to World Expos since its independence. Recently, Cameroon has participated to Shanghai 2010, Zaragoza 2008, Aichi 2005 and Hanover 2000 and will be present at Milan Expo 2015. Its entry to the BIE will allow Cameroon to take part in the decision making process behind World Expos and participate to the selection of future Expo hosts.

The Secretary General of the BIE on an official visit to Kazakhstan

logo astana wind

Logo Expo Astana 2017 wind

The Secretary General of the BIE is on an official trip to Astana, the future host city of Expo 2017 dedicated to the theme "Future Energy".

During his week-long visit, he will meet with President Nazarbayev and government officials such as Prime Minister S. Akhmetov, and the Mayor of Astana, Mr Tasmagambetov. He will also work with the National Company Expo 2017 on the advancements of the Expo.

The Expo teams will be able to present their progress reports and work with the Secretary General on issues such as marketing and PR, legal measures, participants and commercial operations.

Kazakhstan has handed its Expo recognition dossier to the BIE last December. The General Assembly of the BIE should approve it in June, allowing the Expo organizers to officially launch the organization of the event and invite countries to participate.

For more information on Expo 2017 here.

Winter 2013-14 newsletter is out on La Triennale di Milano

Logo_newsletter Triennale di Milano

The 22nd edition of Progression, the Winter Newsletter of the BIE, is dedicated to " La Triennale di Milano ". Discover it here.

We hope you enjoy reading it !