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Insights What is Expo 2020 and why is it important for the Middle East?

Expo 2020, an exhibition taking place between October 2021 and March 2022, is the world’s largest cultural gathering. The focus is on ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and is a chance for countries, businesses, and people to come together and demonstrate sustainability, mobility, and opportunity around the world.

The AtkinsRéalis Group has a foundation of fifty-active years in the Middle East and we’re familiar with these themes as they reflect the ambitions of our business. As part of the ‘#Expo2020 – Join the conversation’ campaign, we recently published a thought leadership piece focused on how rural communities can drive economic growth in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The GCC is made up of the UAE, KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain and their objective is to coordinate, integrate and provide interconnections among member states to achieve unity.

We are excited about what’s to come for the region, and Expo 2020 will emphasize the possibilities and potential that we can collectively deliver. So, what’s it all about?

This is an image of the logo for Expo 2020 Dubai UAE

What is Expo 2020?

Expo 2020, described as a ‘once in a lifetime experience’, is currently taking place between two of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) largest cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It is an exhibition made up of numerous pavilions, showcased by 192 countries, numerous organisations, and various other participants. In the country pavilions, you can experience an immersive cultural experience, understanding what makes each country unique, and at the organisation pavilions, businesses are demonstrating how they are working to address global challenges such as climate change.

There are a variety of subjects to experience, focusing on topics such as innovation and technology, architecture and business and entrepreneurship. It is also a chance to showcase the transformation that is happening in the Middle East, as the region becomes increasingly sustainable, diverse, and connected.

What are the themes at Expo 2020?

The three themes inspiring Expo 2020 are sustainability, mobility, and opportunity, and each has its own district that visitors can explore.

The sustainability district focuses on what countries are doing to champion sustainability, using the world’s most advanced technology in action, and how societies can enjoy living in harmony with nature in a high-tech future.

The mobility district explores drivers of human progress; the way we live, connect and understand each other and how we share knowledge and ideas. It creates connections to drive the world forward, breaking down the divide between the physical and digital worlds to build a harmonious, global society where information, ideas and goods are exchanged faster than ever before.

The opportunity district reflects how everyone on earth can ‘be the key to unlocking eight billion opportunities that can help individuals and communities create a better tomorrow, today’. The aim is to empower visitors to shape the future by unlocking their own potential.

Why is Expo 2020 important for the Middle East?

Across the Middle East, there is a shift towards establishing a more sustainable future with a goal to diversify the economy from predominately crude oil and towards more sustainable initiatives, specifically in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Smart cities are emerging in the UAE, for example, paving the way for improved quality of life and ensuring our environment is protected for future generations to come.

Expo 2020 will raise awareness of the transformations underway in the Middle East and how we can drive economic growth for rural communities through sustainable tourism. Rural communities can be overshadowed by large cities and developments, yet they provide important economic, social, and societal benefits to countries, and cities can’t flourish without them.

By establishing a viable sustainable tourism industry, governments in the Middle East will meet many of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals which AtkinsRéalis align their business with. In addition, for rural areas, sustainable tourism will enable better education, gender equality, reduced poverty, improved services such as clean water and energy provision, good jobs, opportunities for local innovation, better infrastructure, and stronger communities.

Climate change and sustainability are taking centre stage at Expo 2020, and with COP26 recently taking place in the UK, it boosts the discourse about how the construction industry can deliver on COP26 commitments with the support of governments in the Middle East.

Join AtkinsRéalis ’s growth in the Middle East

At AtkinsRéalis , we factor sustainability into everything we do. We know that as sustainable tourism strengthens, it is not just rural communities that benefit, but the whole country, through a diversified, re-distributed economy created by an industry that can protect and enhance cultural heritage.

As cities and development are one of our core markets, sustainable tourism represents a significant growth opportunity for our diversified service offering in conjunction with our drive to Net Zero Carbon.

We’re ambitious about our future, so join us for an exciting journey. Browse available job opportunities in the Middle East and help us provide for a sustainable future.