Delegates from 132 nations responded positively to Expo 2020 Dubai’s ambitious plans for the global mega-event, as the International Planning Meeting (IPM) enters its second day, focussed on interactive workshops that will explore the theme and master plan.
At the Expo 2020 Dubai International Planning Meeting (IPM), more than 370 senior representatives from around the world were presented with the organisers’ vision of an event that is a festival of human ingenuity. The meeting, taking place on 23-24 May, at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai, includes 14 in-depth sessions covering Expo 2020’s legacy, theme, and master plan, as well as the city’s readiness to host the global mega-event.
The aim of the two-day long IPM is to engage with potential participant countries and promote the opportunity to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai, and demonstrate the UAE’s enthusiasm and readiness for the mega-event.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, Director General Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau opened the IPM highlighting the importance of Expo as a platform for collaboration, saying, “We intend to make Expo 2020 Dubai the most inclusive World Expo ever staged.”
“Collaboration has shaped our theme and every single nation here has valuable insights and experiences to offer the world,” HE Al Hashimy continued. “We need to hear them, our tens of millions of visitors will need to see and understand them. Expo is a tool, a powerful live vehicle for communicating the best of what your nation has to offer.”
Later in the day HE Al Hashimy said: “To have the Pacific Islands, to have Scandinavia, to have Western Europe, to have the Americas, to have Africa all coming together talking about what their aspirations for Expo 2020 can be, and how they would want to play an integral part in it, is a true and remarkable privilege.”
Strong international support for Expo 2020 Dubai’s plans
132 nations were present at the IPM, from six continents. The countries represented included India, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, France, Germany, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, Russia, the UK and Ireland, as well as many African states including Mozambique, Uganda and Sierra Leone, and small-island nations such as Samoa, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu. There was also strong representation from the Middle East.
The Secretary General of the BIE, His Excellency Vicente G. Loscertales commended Expo 2020 Dubai on hosting its first IPM and said, “The international representatives here at Expo 2020 Dubai’s IPM meeting were impressed by the plans they saw, and the level of integration and cooperation across the many government bodies involved in the delivery of a project of this scale. The potential participants also now have a clear sense of the organiser’s vision for this Expo to be a truly international platform for collaboration, with a global legacy benefits each participant nation.”
Speaking at the IPM, Her Excellency Barbara A. Leaf, the United States Ambassador to the UAE, expressed her excitement. “What I just saw, in the initial presentation on Expo, was frankly dazzling. It was magical and it makes me want to be a part of it.”
She was joined in her praise by His Excellency Dionyssios Zois, Ambassador of Greece, who said “Words are not enough to describe what I saw today. It is extremely impressive and warmest congratulations to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy and the whole team. This is professional work, with great inspiration, and I think that if the [national] capitals see the videos we just saw, no one would like to be absent from this great event. I wish congratulations to Expo 2020 and I’m certain it will be the best ever Expo we have witnessed.”
IPM - Day One
The agenda for the first day of the IPM included 10 high-level presentations and panel discussions. Potential participant nations heard first about Expo 2020 Dubai’s legacy plans – the vision that underpins all planning for the event. Expo 2020 Dubai will work with countries, companies and individuals on the journey to 2020, to stimulate education and innovation to support the development of the UAE’s knowledge economy, as well as providing benefits to countries and organisations around the world as they seek to address global challenges.
The Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Preparatory Committee, led by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Preparatory Committee and Chairman of Dubai Airports and Emirates Airline, was present for the IPM, underlying the national commitment to hosting the event.
His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Member of Dubai’s Executive Council, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), and His Excellency Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman, Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC) and Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects, joined a panel session that set out Dubai’s readiness to host 25 million visitors to the Expo in 2020 and 2021, and the preparations being made by the RTA, the tourism sector and in Dubai South to host the global event, including the ‘Route 2020’ extension to the Metro, the Dubai’s Tourism Vision 2020.
His Excellency Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Dubai Municipality and Member of the Executive Council of the Dubai Government, and His Excellency Expert Major General Khamis Mutar Khamis Al Muzainah, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, were also in attendance.
IPM - Day Two
The agenda for the second day of the IPM has a more practical focus for the international representatives, with workshops on Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme and the details of the master plan. Each World Expo carries a central theme of ‘universal concern to all of humanity’. Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, recognises that generating sustainable solutions to global problems demands collaboration across cultures, nations and regions. It is a reflection of the modern world: connected as never before, and changing with great speed. Representatives at the IPM will be able to think about how their nation can showcase its contribution to global thinking on this theme. Potential participants will also learn how the site masterplan for Expo 2020 Dubai symbolises the power of collaboration and connections in addressing some of the world’s major challenges in the 21st century.
Expo 2020 Dubai aims to host more than 180 countries. For the first time in the history of World Expos, each country will have an individual pavilion, enhancing the ability of nations to showcase themselves. Participant countries will directly engage with 25 million visitors at the mega-event, generate a wide range of business opportunities and access to regional markets through the collaborative platform that Expo offers, and contribute to the lasting global legacy of the first mega-event in the MEASA region.
The IPM is the latest in a series of major developments by Expo 2020 Dubai in recent months. Earlier in May, Expo unveiled its master plan at the Arab Media Forum. In March, Expo 2020 Dubai revealed its new logo with a spectacular event at the foot of the Burj Khalifa. Also, ahead of the start of infrastructure works in July, the Expo site has seen over 4 million cubic metres of earth moved as the site has been levelled in preparation for construction.
Potential international participants have already shown interest in Expo 2020 Dubai. In April, Switzerland became the first country to announce its intention to participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, citing the economic and political significance of the host country and the geopolitical weight of the Gulf region as one of the reasons behind its participation.