Dubai: Al Wasl Plaza, the heart of the Expo 2020 Dubai site, was inaugurated on Wednesday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
The two leaders said the UAE has consolidated its status as a leader in the global arena under the leadership of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The country is hosting Expo 2020 in Dubai from October 20, 2020, under theme "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future."
The mega event, considered the world's biggest party this where more than 190 countries are expected to participate, will help promote optimism, hope and collaboration and inspire people to work towards achieving positive change and a better future.
Start of new 50-year phase
“We will celebrate the accomplishments of the last 50 years. Thanks to the efforts of UAE citizens and residents, as well as all those who have contributed to its success and prosperity, Expo 2020 will mark the start of new 50-year phase of leadership and achievements,” Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid said.
“We are working to implement our vision as part of our comprehensive development plan, whose key objective is the happiness of people.
"Our efforts are backed by initiatives and projects aimed at maximisng the energy and talent of our people and creating new opportunities for them.
"We work with all countries and governments keen to promote the prosperity and wellbeing of humanity. In a few months, the world will gather in this place to celebrate the cultures of various nations across the world and humankind’s best innovations. Expo 2020 will offer new hope for creating a better tomorrow both for the region and the world.”
Shaikh Mohamad Bin Zayed said: “Through Expo 2020, we will show the world how our union was the starting point for our development journey, and how our founding fathers established the robust foundations necessary for sustainable development and progress. We will also have an opportunity to demonstrate how the spirit of collaboration is embedded deep in our national ethos and serves as a means for progress and development. The world will also be able to better understand the achievements we have accomplished in the short period since our nation’s foundation, and will learn about our traditions and heritage, our diversity and our experience of peaceful coexistence.”
Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid and Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed were briefed about Al Wasl Plaza and the preparations to welcome the 192 participating countries and millions of visitors to Expo. They were also briefed on the various phases of Expo completed in 2019, including major construction projects developed under the three sub-themes of the event. The entire project has achieved 150 million working hours and has 38,000 people currently working on site.
The leaders toured Al Wasl Plaza following its opening.
Serving as the centre of Expo 2020, Al Wasl Plaza will be connected to the three districts based on the subthemes of Expo — Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
They also visited the Expo headquarters and “Terra”, the sustainability pavilion, where they were briefed about the pavilion that showcases the ingenuity and possibility of architecture as our society looks for intelligent strategies for sustainable future living.
The pavilion, which approximately covers 25,000 sq m, has 6,300 sq m of exhibition space. It has been designed to be a net zero energy and net zero water building, which means the pavilion generates all of its own power and water needs.
The pavilion has more than 1,050 solar panels arranged on its 130-metre wide canopy and on the locally-designed energy trees (e-trees) that dot the landscape and rotate to face the sun like a sunflower.
These can produce four gigawatt hours of electricity per year and have the capacity to charge 890,000 mobile phones.
Expo 2020 Dubai is set to attract 192 countries, and 25 million visitors, 70% of whom will come outside the country. The event is expected to receive an average of 150,000 visitors a day.
Peak day visitor numbers are expected to total 300,000.
The two leaders were accompanied by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai; Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; Shaikh Tahnoun Bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Ain Region; Lieutenant General Shaikh Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior; Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; Shaikh Khalid Bin Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office; Shaikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group; Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of The Dubai Media Council and Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation and several dignitaries and senior officials.