Dubai is ‘sustainable’ Expo 2020 choice

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Dubai is ‘sustainable’ Expo 2020 choice

With a host of international delegates in town for one last Expo 2020 push, the organising committee is hoping their focus on lasting energy will leave a lasting message — as Dubai looks to pitch itself as the sustainable choice.

By Amanda Fisher

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Published: Mon 21 Oct 2013, 11:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:38 PM

To coincide with the first anniversary of World Energy Day on Tuesday, as well as the Expo 2020 Theme Symposium, which 250 international delegates are attending in the final appraisal of the city’s bid, a State of the Energy Report Dubai 2014 was released on Monday — with a major focus on the sustainable prospects for Expo 2020, should Dubai reign supreme.

World Energy Day was first proposed and proclaimed in Dubai last year by the World Energy Forum, and first endorsed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Bid Committee managing director Reem Ibrahim Al Hashemi was heavily quoted in the report, saying sustainability was the centrepiece of the UAE vision and policy and “also naturally” the core of Dubai Expo 2020 — which would generate enough of its own energy on site to provide half its needs.

“In the lead up to 2020, Dubai Expo is striving to set new benchmarks for the sustainability of mega events through a range of innovative initiatives aimed at delivering a fully carbon neutral programme. Every aspect of the event’s delivery will seek to establish new benchmarks in our commitment to environmental consciousness,” she said.

The delegates from 167 countries, who will make up the voting power of the Bureau International des Expositions when it casts ballots on November 27, have been hearing primarily about the Dubai bid’s sub-themes: mobility, sustainability and opportunity.

The Expo 2020 final booklet notes the sustainability theme is about lasting sources of energy and water, while the mobility theme relates to “smart systems” for logistics and transportation, and opportunity is about generating new paths to economic development.

The energy report includes quotes from Shaikh Mohammed citing the UAE’s recent sixth place ranking for its overall quality of infrastructure in the annual World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report.

“Our goal in the coming years is to lead the global index of the quality of infrastructure.”

Shaikh Mohammed’s comments are supported by Dubai Supreme Council of Energy chairman Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum — who is also the Dubai Expo 2020 Higher Committee chairman.

Shaikh Ahmed, who referenced the connection between sustainability and Dubai Expo 2020 numerous times during Monday’s Press conference, said the council was “tirelessly working” to achieve Shaikh Mohammed’s vision of a green economy, working to reduce energy demand by 30 per cent by 2030.

The report concludes with an entire chapter dedicated to so-called mega-events, of which the Expo 2020 is the main focus.

As a foreword to the chapter, Al Hashemi, who is also Minister of State, said mega events left a legacy that was inextricably linked to environmental, economic and social sustainability growth of nations.

“World Expos, Olympic Games and other mega events have proven to be powerful forces shaping the sustainability of cities and countries from infrastructure to economic development, from urban planning to quality of the last decade sustainability has become a key objective of mega events.”

Lessons had been learned from previous expos but Al Hashemi called for a “combined effort” internationally in approaching sustainable development, citing the State of Energy Report chapter as a first step in doing so.

“We still lack an institutional platform through which host nations and international oversight organisations can share and capture relevant experiences and lessons learned,” she said.

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