Expo 2020 Dubai target remains

Despite 1-year postponement, the expo still garner great participation and support from various govt bodies and organisations


EXPO Dubai 2020, which has been postponed to next year due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, is still expected to garner great participation and support from Malaysia’s various government bodies and organisations.

Deputy commissioner-general of Malaysia for Expo 2020 Dubai Dr Mohd Nor Azman Hassan said 22 ministries, 38 government agencies and five state governments have to date committed to lead, support and participate in the 26 weekly business and trade programmes that are being planned.

“There are also over 200 companies that will join us to promote their products and services towards realising the RM10 billion in potential trade and investment targets that we aspire to achieve,” he said at the Malaysia Expo 2020 Dubai celebrates International Youth Day (IYD) event in Bangi, Selangor, yesterday.

The event is part of Malaysia Pavilion’s promotional activities leading up to the expo in Dubai.

Mohd Nor Azman said the objective to attract potential trade and investment continues to be the top priority for the expo, more so for the country’s economic recovery.

“Based on the survey circulated by the expo organiser to all participating countries sometime in June 2020, the results which came back were encouraging and positive, indicating that most countries are also placing trade and investment as their main focus,” he said.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is Malaysia’s largest trading partner in the Middle East and the expo presents an opportunity to further enhance both countries bilateral trade and ties.

Mohd Nor Azman said he is confident that more private companies will apply to join the Malaysian delegation to the expo where they will gain access to global markets.

“However, we took the impact of Covid-19 on our local businesses very seriously and we refunded the participation deposit fee, which was collected earlier, to some companies that had registered to participate in our programmes to help them tide over,” he added.

Following the global pandemic outbreak that began earlier this year, Malaysia as a member of the Bureau International des Exposition voted for the postponement of the expo for one year (along with other members), in a show of solidarity for the host country UAE who was impacted by the virus.

Subsequently, the Cabinet agreed for Malaysia to continue its preparation for the expo, which is the first of such events to be held in the Middle East and North Africa region.

With the change of ministerial structure, the Cabinet also decided that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) would remain the lead ministry for the expo with Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre (MGTC) remaining as the implementing agency.

Expo 2020 Dubai will now be held from Oct 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022, while the event will retain its initial name as Expo 2020 Dubai.

Mohd Nor Azman also revealed the progress of the construction of the Malaysia Pavilion in Dubai which follows strict health and safety guidelines.

“We are currently at 40% of our construction progress and we intend to complete the core and shell of our pavilion building to apply for the Building Completion Certificate at the end of this year.

“We are committed to ensuring our participation leaves behind no carbon footprint as the carbon emitted during construction, operations and the process to dismantle the building will be offset through forestry and tree-planting activities that will generate verified carbon credits,” he added.

The Malaysia Pavilion structure replicates the Rainforest Canopy and is the first Net Zero Carbon Pavilion among all the other country pavilions.

MGTC CEO Shamsul Bahar Mohd Nor said his agency is committed to fulfilling the expectations placed on them by Mosti to deliver the best for Expo 2020 Dubai.

With its recently expanded scope, MGTC now focuses on climate change mitigation and climate change adaptation through policy analysis, national reporting, national programme coordination, as a focal point for climate change and adaptation data as well as communication, education and public awareness.

“In MGTC, we believe that young people are the untapped pool of talent and we must give them the right tools to express their views and unlock their potential.

“Towards this, MGTC encourages youths to play a role in our organisation and contribute their knowledge, energy and ideas including in policy studies, analysis and reporting,” he said.

Meanwhile, local social enterprise PichaEats was announced as the winner of the prestigious Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant, beating thousands vying for the much sought-after Expo 2020 Dubai grant.

The Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant programme funds novel and innovative solutions for a better world and has received over 11,000 applications so far.

Around 142 global innovators, including PichaEats, have been offered grants of up to US$100,000 (RM419,000) each.