EXPO 2020 selects 25 innovative projects
The 25 Global Best Practice Programmes were selected from 1,175 submissions received from 141 countries. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

DUBAI A Norwegian programme to swap plastic waste for financial reward, an online software from Bhutan that calculates healthy, cost-effective school meals sourcing ingredients from local farms and a Cameroonian project to build sustainable refugee camps are among the 25 projects selected in Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Programme.

The 25 success stories -– all simple, effective, local solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges - were selected during Expo 2020’s search for pioneering projects that address the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, 17 key targets that form a global plan of action for the peace and prosperity of people and the planet.

The champion projects, from 24 countries include innovative approaches from individuals, communities, academia, businesses, international organisations and governments. They will be showcased to the millions of visitors expected to attend the next World Expo.

The announcement was made at the SDG Action Zone, a space to engage partners for transformative SDG action in new and innovative ways, during an event jointly hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai and the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the United Nations.

It was held alongside the United Nations General Assembly in New York and comes after a new Expo 2020-commissioned global survey showed that people around the world are united in their desire to create a happier, more inclusive, cleaner planet.

Under the theme “Small Steps, Big Leaps: Simple Solutions for Sustainable Impact”, Expo 2020’s Global Best Practice Programme has been founded on the belief that achieving the SDGs by the 2030 deadline requires local solutions to ensure no one is left behind.

Each selected project tackles real-world issues, from eradicating hunger to boosting health and wellbeing to tackling climate change, and uses approaches that can serve as solutions to people in other parts of the world.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, minister of state for international cooperation, director-general of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and chair of the UAE National Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, said, “The Sustainable Development Goals, universally adopted in 2015, reflect crucial issues that are relevant to us all, and it is truly inspiring to see so many tangible solutions to these most pressing challenges. I congratulate these 25 beacons of best practice and look forward to sharing their transformative projects with the world at Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Five years in, 10 years to go, the next World Expo -– the first to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, MEASA, region -– will provide an unprecedented opportunity to celebrate these achievements, amplify the message of the SDGs and galvanise further action. If we all step up and play our part, the 2030 deadline will be within reach.”

Vicente G. Loscertales, Secretary-General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) said, “Best practices are one of the most innovative and striking features of World Expos. They bring together with the practical perspective of Expos, the central role of the theme and the educational responsibility of participants.

Total submissions

Expo’s Global Best Practice Programme received 1,175 submissions from 141 countries and presented a shortlist to a prestigious international selection committee that included representatives from the Bureau International des Expositions (the governing body of World Expos), University of Cambridge, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, World Bank, UN-Habitat, UN-Water, UNDP, UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth.

The Expo is also working to positively impact areas related to the SDGs via its own Expo Live programme, a $100 million global social impact programme that backs creative solutions to pressing challenges that affect people’s lives or help preserve the planet. To date, it has supported 120 grantees from 65 countries, demonstrating that given the right opportunity, innovation can come from anywhere, to everyone.

The list of choice programmes

Inclusive and sustainable service delivery:

■ Dispensers for Safe Water, Evidence Action, Kenya

■ UNICEF Drones Programme, UNICEF, Vanuatu

■ WADI Solar Powered Water Filtration, Helioz, Austria

■ Big Box for the Calais Jungle Refugee Camp, Jangala, United Kingdom

■ 20,000 Suns, Hogan Lovells and Barefoot College, India

Livelihoods and enterprise development:

■ Global Plastic Waste Deposit and Tracking System, Empower, Norway

■ Question Coffee 4 SDGs, Sustainable Growers, Rwanda

■ The Mountain Partnership Products Initiative, The Mountain Partnership, Peru

■ Digital Farmer Service, Esoko, Ghana

■ Honey Production, Processing and Packaging into Value-Added Products from Rural Africa to Global Markets, Dytech, Zambia

Resilient habitats:

■ Building a Green Refugee Camp, Land Life Company, Cameroon

■ Conservation Cooperatives, Planet Indonesia, Indonesia

■ Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Uganda

■ The Sri Lanka Mangrove Conservation Project, Seacology, Sri Lanka

■ Vulnerable in Vietnam, Buoyant Foundation Project, Vietnam

Social development:

■ Creating Agents of Positive Change, The Citizens Foundation, Pakistan

■ Hygiene Promotion through Routine Immunization, WaterAid, Nepal

■ SDG Camps, UNDP, Tunisia

■ Janma Clean Birth Kit, Ayzh, India

■ Fighting Neglected Tropical Diseases with Mobile Phones, Sightsavers Nigeria

Water, food and energy security:

■ Plus School Menus, World Food Programme, Bhutan

■ Eco Village, Bangladesh Environment and Development Society, Bangladesh

■ Belize’s First Cacao Agroforestry Concession within a Protected Area, Yaaxche Conservation Trust, Belize

■ Agua Tica, FUNDECOR, Costa Rica

■ Citizen Farm, Edible Garden City, Singapore