Dubai: In 2016 at the United Nations General Assembly, Tajikistan pushed for an initiative, to address water resource issues such as scarcity and climate change, known as the ‘International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028’. Working with the same vision, the Tajikistan Pavilion revisits the world’s precious natural resource while underscoring its own water potential at Expo 2020 Dubai this October.
“[We want to] draw people's attention to water resources as a basis for human life and sustainable socio-economic development,” says Jumakhonzoda Jamshed, Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Republic of Tajikistan and Commissioner General of the Tajikistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in an interview with Gulf News.
The participation of Tajikistan in Expo 2020 Dubai provides an opportunity for Tajikistan to present its economic achievements, tourism potential, culture and rich history to the world as an independent country, and especially to the citizens and guests of the UAE. [We want to] draw people's attention to water resources as a basis for human life and sustainable socio-economic development.
The country holds about 60 per cent of Central Asia’s water in 1,300 lakes and over 900 rivers and streams, and is home to the second tallest manmade dam in the world, the Nurek Hydro-Electric Station.
Tajikistan’s strong commitment to water concerns reflects in its choice of Thematic District, where it will welcome visitors under Expo’s subtheme of Sustainability. “The participation of Tajikistan in Expo 2020 Dubai provides an opportunity for Tajikistan to present its economic achievements, tourism potential, culture and rich history to the world as an independent country, and especially to the citizens and guests of the UAE.”
Taste glacier water
Photographs of Tajik landscapes will be displayed on the pavilion facade, accompanied by words of the Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon on the importance of water in sustainable development.
Within, the 230-square-metre exhibition space is home to everything native to the central Asian country, with banners showing off its hydropower technologies, mineral samples, fruits, honey, rare animals and handicrafts.
At the heart of the pavilion, visitors will discover the mountainous geography of Tajikistan through photographs – 93 per cent of its terrain is covered in mountains and half of it lies 3,000 metres above sea level. Topping off the scenic view is an actual waterfall that will flow from the ceiling of the pavilion to the floor.
Partner to the pavilion, Dushanbe-based production and construction company Avesto Group LLC will offer visitors carbonated and non-carbonated glacier water bottled directly at the Sioma River. Besides water, the firm also has a range of tea and fruit-based drinks up for taste.
“Tajikistan is also known for its sweet and environmentally friendly fruits,” says Jamshed. Dried apricot halves or ‘kuraga’ are some of Tajikistan’s most treasured exports, and a local company Zardolu and KO is bringing them to Dubai along with other dried fruits.
The art of Chakan embroidery
Tajik embroidery is a revered form of art that has found representation in museums all around the globe. One such popular type of embroidery will be featured in the pavilion, often seen decorating Tajik household items and clothes in flowers, leaves, sun and the moon with colourful threads.
“Chakan is a kind of folk handicraft that has a very ancient history and is closely related to the life, customs and spiritual world of the Tajik people,” says Jamshed. In 2018, the celebrated art form was added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (Unesco) list of intangible cultural heritage.
“In the Tajik Pavilion, we tried to present [Tajikistan] to the world at least a little bit – the pavilion should be an expression of the beauty of our country.”
The pavilion’s family friendly corner for children will be furnished with wooden furniture made by Tajik carpenters, including rugs and carpets.
Other cultural displays include the Neolithic city of Sarazm founded in north-western Tajikistan over 5,500 years ago – at present, an archaeological site inscribed under the Unesco World Heritage list. Photos and brief description of the proto-urban settlement will tell visitors of the advanced urban planning and metallurgical production that Tajik ancestors undertook.
Investment opportunities at Expo 2020 Dubai
Tajikistan has been an avid participant since the Hannover World Expo in 2000, even winning a gold award for its theme development in the Specialised Expo hosted by Astana, Kazakhstan, in 2017.
Jamshed says Expo 2020 Dubai is unique for falling across two calendar years, the event kicking off from October, 2021 to March, 2022.
We aim to present at an appropriate level all of the economic areas of Tajikistan on the subject and to find good partners for companies and enterprises participating in the exhibition ... to introduce the investment opportunities [in] Tajikistan to the entrepreneurs [in] the UAE and other countries.
“We aim to present at an appropriate level all of the economic areas of Tajikistan on the subject and to find good partners for companies and enterprises participating in the exhibition,” says Jamshed. “We would like to introduce the investment opportunities [in] Tajikistan to the entrepreneurs [in] the UAE and other countries.”
- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.