Sunday, June 16, 2024

Preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai well on track


With under 900 days to go to Expo 2020 Dubai, preparations to deliver the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region are well on track and making good progress. Progress continues to advance in six key areas:

International participation: 170 countries have committed to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai. These include, among others, Italy, United Kingdom, Indonesia, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Greece, Tunisia, Kazakhstan, Chile, Nigeria, Germany and Ireland.

Commercial partnerships: To date, Expo 2020 Dubai has announced 10 Premier Partners and two Official Partners.

Premier Partners announced so far:

Accenture – Official Digital Services Partner (jointly with Etisalat)

Cisco – Official Digital Network Partner

DP World – Official Global Trade Partner

Emirates Airline – Official Airline Partner

Emirates NBD – Official Banking Services Partner

Etisalat – Official Telecommunications Partner and Official Digital Services Partner (jointly with Accenture)

Nissan – Official Automotive Partner

PepsiCo – Official Beverage and Snack Partner

SAP – Official Innovative Enterprise Software Partner

Siemens – Official Intelligent Infrastructure & Operations Partner

Official Partners announced so far:

DEWA – Official Sustainable Energy Partner

UPS – Official Logistics Partner

ENOC – Official Integrated Energy Partner

These partnerships play a vital role in delivering a successful Expo 2020 Dubai and supporting its legacy.

Site delivery: Construction is well advanced on the three Theme Districts that form the core of the Expo site. Foundations are complete and buildings continue to rise from the ground.

To date, more than 16 million work hours have been completed on the Expo 2020 site, with 6,100 cubic metres of concrete being laid per week, and 85 km of pipe already laid for site infrastructure works.

UAE-based companies are playing a leading role in the construction effort, including Al-Futtaim Carillion, Khansaheb, Besix, Arabtec and Tristar Engineering, as well as early works completed by Al Naboodah Construction.

All major design elements are complete – the last being the iconic Al Wasl Plaza, a 150-metre wide, 67.5-metre tall domed space that will be enjoyed by millions of visitors. Laing-O’Rourke will develop Al Wasl and two surrounding buildings. The development of Al Wasl Plaza will be managed by Meraas, with the steel work for the dome trellis provided by Cimolai-Rimond ME.

The three theme districts, being developed by Al Futtaim Carillion, also are progressing well. External cladding work on the three theme pavilions has begun and will be completed by the end of this year.

In January 2017, Expo unveiled the Sustainability Pavilion, designed by Grimshaw Architects. The structure explores the potential for buildings to be self-sustaining in water and energy, by using innovative combinations of technologies to harvest solar power, and water from the air. Construction is well underway and due to be completed by October 2019.

Economic impact: In 2017, AED 10.8 billion of Expo construction contracts and AED 411 million of non-construction contracts were awarded.

To date, Expo 2020 Dubai has awarded 3,093 contracts, with SMEs continuing to be a priority and winning 1,717 of these contracts.

Expo organizers continue to work to identify and promote opportunities to SMEs, including licensed merchandise and the AED 2 billion in food and beverage sales opportunities at the event.

In March 2017, Expo 2020 Dubai kicked off its GCC Roadshow with a trip to Oman. The aim of the Roadshow is to meet business leaders in GCC countries and discuss how their companies can maximise opportunities from the first World Expo in the Arab world.

Meanwhile, through the Expo 2020 Dubai Merchandising and Licensing programme, Expo organizers aim to have on sale some 5,000 types of official licensed products, inspired by the Expo subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

Merchandise during the mega-event will be sold at one of the world’s largest souvenir outlets – a 3,000 square-metre ‘Superstore of the Future’.

The tendering process is ongoing, however among the category of products already under way are facilities management, food and beverage, fragrances and luxury items.

Expo 2020 Dubai has held a number of events to support SMEs, including its Meet the Buyer series. Three Meet the Buyer events in 2017 saw more than 620 companies, including SMEs, and business councils, given the opportunity to connect with Expo buyers and Expo’s major contractors to showcase their products and services.

Expo 2020 Dubai is committed to supporting the SME sector across the region, with 20 per cent of its direct and indirect spend to be awarded to SMEs.

Social Impact: Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, continues to inspire us on the journey to hosting Expo. Leading up to Expo 2020 Dubai, Expo organizers are creating opportunities to connect people from every corner of the world and spark the ideas that will make a lasting impact.

Under Expo Live, an innovation and partnership programme, Expo 2020 has allocated USD 100 million to back projects that offer creative solutions to pressing issues that impact people’s lives, or help to preserve our world – or both.

During the first three cycles of Expo Live’s flagship Innovation Impact Grant Programme, a total of 70 grantees from 42 countries were selected. During the third cycle, which opened in December 2017, Expo Live received more than 1,200 applications from 114 countries. Twenty-six projects from 22 countries were selected in the third cycle, following a rigorous evaluation process that involved live presentations in Dubai. The fourth cycle is due to open later this year.

Expo Live’s University Innovation Programme is encouraging and supporting university students in the UAE to work together to find creative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges in the UAE and the region. The first cycle of the programme was launched in September 2017, and Expo Live received 280 applications from 1,000 students. In December, the programme announced the first 19 student teams to receive grants of between AED 10,000 and AED 25,000 to develop their creative solutions. The second cycle will open in August 2018.

World Expos have always been about innovation. And with these grants, Expo 2020 Dubai is taking this tradition to the next level: stimulating the development of ideas that will inspire millions of visitors, and may improve the lives of many millions more.

Young people are the future, and the MEASA region is home to one of the world’s youngest populations. Expo 2020 Dubai’s Youth Connect team continues to take forward an exciting programme of engagement with schools and educators across the UAE.

Through various initiatives including school roadshows and Expo field trips, Youth Connect has already reached more than 36,300 students from 620 schools in all seven Emirates, and hopes to reach many more this year. Youth Connect has also engaged with more than 800 educators from both public and private schools all over the UAE to discuss how they can best tell their students about World Expos and their significance to humanity’s development.

Expo 2020 has also launched its search for 30,000-plus volunteers who will be the ‘face’ of the Expo.

The registration portal to join the Expo 2020 Volunteer community – – was launched on 20 October, 2017 in collaboration with the Ministry of Community Development and Emirates Foundation.

In its first year, the Expo 2020 Dubai apprenticeship programme saw 26 young people take part in a nine-month training course at Expo.

The apprenticeship programme is an example of Expo’s contribution to placing competent and highly skilled young professionals into the UAE’s workforce and about 80 percent of the apprentices have gone on to secure full-time positions with Expo 2020 Dubai.

The programme has been expanded following integration with another successful apprenticeship scheme for Emirati graduates run by the Jebel Ali Free Zone. This year, eight young UAE nationals have enrolled into the programme.

Legacy: After Expo 2020 Dubai closes, its spirit and the accomplishments it triggered will live on to create a lasting and tangible impact on humanity for future generations to carry forward. This legacy has been an ever-present core of all our planning.

At Cityscape in September 2017, Expo organizers unveiled our exciting District 2020 legacy plans, which will see the Expo 2020 Dubai site live on after Expo and become a new urban experience that will accommodate the newest trends of modern living, blending work and recreation.

District 2020 will include 65,000 square metres of residential space and 135,000 square metres of commercial space in a location that will be home to world-class innovation, educational, cultural and entertainment facilities, as well as a conference and exhibition centre.

Two of our Official Premier Partners, Accenture and Siemens, have already committed to the legacy of Expo 2020, and will have a permanent presence in District 2020. Siemens will move its global logistics headquarters to the Expo site and Accenture will open a Digital Hub in District 2020.

The Sustainability Pavilion, unveiled in January 2017, will become a leading children and science centre to continue to educate and inspire youth to be responsible future custodians of our planet.


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Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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