EXPO 2020 DUBAI
Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai is hosting its seventh themed week, entitled ‘Global Goals’ as part of its ‘Programme for People and Planet’ from January 15 to 22, which will be hosted at different pavilions at Expo.

As part of this programme, Expo is working in partnership the United Nations and its Global Goals. The UN Global Goals Week is held in New York, but is being hosted at Expo this time, marking an unprecedented departure from tradition.

While some of the interaction will take place at the media zone at Opportunity Pavilion, several other events have been organised in different areas to commemorate the important week. Maher Nasser, commissioner-general of UN at Expo and Sconaid McGeachin, senior vice-president of communications at Expo, on Monday provided details of the programmes planned for the event.

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Maher Nasser (L), Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Global Communications and Sconaid McGeachin (R), Senior Vice President Communications at Expo 2020 Dubai during the Global Goals Week media briefing at Expo Media Centre Image Credit: Antony Fleyhan/Expo 2020 Dubai

Why Dubai?

Providing a background on the importance Global Goals Week and the need to host it at Dubai, Nasser said: “We are aiming to fulfil the 17 Sustainable Global Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the UN in 2015 by 2030. All the countries of the world have a stake in this and we are in the second year of the decade of action that we announced and we are trying to see how best to fulfil these goals.”

He added: “Outside of New York, we decided to hold it at Expo 2020 because over 192 countries of the world have pavilions here and this was the best place to be able to meet the representatives of so many countries. Besides meeting rooms and governments, we want to hold a dialogue with individuals and Expo2020 was the ideal place to do it.”

Impact of the pandemic

Nasser also pointed out that of the 17 goals and its 100 sub goals, Goal No. 13 on climate control was being addressed by countries. However, owing to COVID-19, this issue and other challenges were further complicated with the onset of the pandemic.

“In the last two years we have seen poverty, social inequalities, and starvation get worse. We want to urge not just governments but also motivate business houses, and individuals to work towards achieving the SDGs.

“Perhaps we look at the rehabilitation happening post COVID-19 across the world as a silver lining. Governments across the world are working towards better economic stimulus, revamping the health care and social systems and this can be aligned with the SDG goals. So this is the best time to assess the Global goals and works towards a world where there is no poverty, no starvation and an equitable distribution of wealth and resources.”

World’s ‘to-do list’

Outlining the highlights of the week, McGeachin said Expo was looking forward to host the event. This week been observed as a themed event of our Programme for People and Planet and will underpin the all the SDG goals. The 17 SDGs are the world’s ‘to-do’ list. They recognise that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth, while also tackling climate change and working to preserve oceans and forests.”

Leading personalities

During the week, prominent world leaders and decision makers such as Bill Gates, Richard Curtis and from the UAE, Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai; and Mohammed Al Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation from Jordan, will participate and present their view point.

Also, those participating virtually include Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations; Sanda Ojiambo, COO and Executive Director, UN Global Compact; and Jerome Foster II, White House Advisor, White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council.

Members of the public are also invited to join in-person or virtually and contribute their ideas on how the SDG implementation can be expedited.

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