Dubai: Expo 2020 Dubai has tied up with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support grass roots innovations that can potentially help millions across the world amid the current challenging times.
The partnership was announced at the conclusion of the 5th Expo 2020 International Participants Meeting (IPM) on Thursday.
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The collaboration will promote innovation in global humanitarian and development response by identifying, co-funding and upscaling innovative solutions. The Gates Foundation’s Emergency Response Programme, which helps communities build strong systems to strengthen their ability to ‘build back better’ in the wake of a crisis, will share expertise, best practices and technical assistance with specific focus on water, sanitation, health, agriculture and financial inclusion.
Expo organisers and participants convened remotely from August 24-27 to talk about the Expo’s specialist programming, including themed weeks and international day events highlighting global issues such as climate change, health and wellness, urban and rural development and space.
“Many of these situations have been exacerbated by the current global health crisis, highlighting a need to work together and collaborate across borders to create a better future — in line with Expo’s central aims and mirroring Dubai’s deep-rooted history of bringing people together to encourage positive change,” Expo organisers said.
Committed to collective action
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, said: “Working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation underscores Expo 2020’s purpose of bringing people together to explore global issues and commit to collective action against them, spurring cooperation and helping to create a better future.”
“The initiative empowers grass roots social innovators with funding and guidance to improve people’s lives, their communities and the environment, yet the real impact goes even further — inspiring optimism for the future and stoking global action to help millions facing unimaginable challenges,” she added.
Joe Cerrell, Managing Director, Global Policy and Advocacy at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said: He continued: “This initiative will help fund and develop innovative solutions from across the world that have the potential to save lives during an emergency or enable affected communities to rebuild better and safer, and become more resilient over the longer-term. We look forward to working with Expo Live and social entrepreneurs globally to spotlight solutions that can deliver a positive impact within some of the world’s most challenging humanitarian settings.”
Grantees that have been identified under the initiative include PichaEats, a Malaysia-based catering and meal-box service powered by ‘Picha chefs’ — refugees who create authentic delicacies and cuisines from their homelands; myAgro which uses cell phone technology to enable smallholder farmers in Mali to set aside funds for the purchase of high-quality agricultural supplies and training; and Seenaryo, which supports life skills and academic achievement for children in refugee and local communities across Lebanon and Jordan.
Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.