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Cities in race for Expo 2020

Dubai has one of the best chances of the four bids

Gulf News

Dubai, UAE

Seemingly, the best funded of the five bids for 2020, Dubai has amibtious plans to transform a completely vacant desert area into an oasis. Sources seem to indicate that Dubai has one of the best chances of the four bids. The proposed theme is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”

Reem Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for the Expo 2020 bid, said, the country will create a lasting impression. She stressed on the safety and stability of the UAE. “The story of the UAE is that of partnerships that has created a country and a city. Now we want to take this partnership to a new level,” she said.

Princess Haya Bint Hussain, Wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, stressed on unity and diversity. “Although our faiths might be different, but we are all united in our destiny. This is what distinguishes Dubai and the UAE from the rest.

“We must seek new ways in success and achieve the with partnerships. We must find ways to create opportunities for sustainable development. That’s why, we have joined the United Nations Sustainable Development Network to help create partnerships, opportunities and seek ensure sustainable development.”

The UAE has already secured official support from the British Government while France has assured of its support to the UAE.

Izmir, Turkey

Izmir, Turkey previously bid to host Expo 2015 and narrowly lost to Milan. It is a strong contender for the Expo 2020. Although Izmir has put up an impressive bid around ‘Health for all’ theme, recent political turmoil in Istanbul could become its nightmare - if continues. It has pledged to build a waterfront site for the Expo, 97 per cent of which will be dedicated to an eco-park, once the expo is over.

“I do not have the official numbers on how many countries are supporting us, but we are confident of winning this one,” Egemen Bagis, Turkish Mnister for European Union, told Gulf News, diplomatically avoiding the answers.

Designed by Iraqi-born architect Zaha Hadid, Izmir’s expo site is quite appealing as its bid proposal. It wants health to be recognised as a human right. It has also developed a mascot, Expoman, as part of the bid process, and has endorsement from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“A Turkish bid would seem to be a strong contender for 2020,” said Izmir was selected over Ankara by Turkey’s federal government. The proposed theme is “New Routes to a Better World: Health for All.”

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil, which is hosting the World Cup football next year, would host it’s first BIE-sanctioned world’s fair in the city of Sao Paulo, four years after Rio de Janiero’s 2016 Summer Olympics. The proposed theme is “the Power of Diversity, Harmony for Growth.”

Brazil’s Sao Paulo is hoping to secure the bid based on its economic strength and the diversity. Its officials also were playing on the line that World Expo was never held in Latin America - which strengthens its appeal.

Although there wasn’t much of a spark in the Brazilian presentation at the BIE General Assembly, the country of the Samba dance has its own appeal. Brazil is one of the world’s top ten economies.

Yekaterinburg, Russia

Russia would host it’s first world’s fair in the city of Yekaterinburg, the fourth largest city in Russia, and the administrative center of Sverdlovsk Oblast. The proposed theme is “the Global Mind.”

ekaterinburg, which is located on the border between Asia and European continent, also is optimistic in winning the bid, it officials have pledged for the best show.

Although there is no dotted border line between Europe and Asian continents, like the countries’ territorial borders, officials of Yekaterinburg claims that part of the city lies in Asia where the other part is in Europe. This gives the city a wider appeal of cultural diversity.

However, the Russian presentation on Wednesday at the OECD Centre at the 153rd General Assembly in Paris had a very good spark. It showed an astronaut speaking to the audience showing the city of Yekaterinburg on the global map - at the crossroads between the East and the West.