Expo 2020 selects 25 projects providing tangible solutions to world’s most pressing challenges

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 United Arab Emirates 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 galvanize further action. If we all step up and play our part, the 2030 deadline will be within reach.”

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), the 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.

A feature of every World Expo, the Global Best Practice Programme resonates with Expo 2020’s theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” and its three sub-themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. The programme will have an area to showcase itself at Expo 2020 Dubai, while the SDGs will cut across the event in all manner of ways, including at the Opportunity Pavilion, where visitors will explore how unlocking the potential of individuals and communities will enable a more prosperous and sustainable future for us all.

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.

The Expo is also working to positively impact areas related to the SDGs via its own Expo Live programme, a US$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.

Inclusive and sustainable service delivery: A reliable service provision in urban and rural areas, as well as in fluid environments such as informal, nomadic, post-disaster, emergency, and refugee settlements 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: Promoting alternative employment and income opportunities, women in the workplace, competitive products and services, and improved market access 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: Better protecting human, economic and natural assets in urban, rural and fluid environments 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: Reliable, affordable and appropriate healthcare and education systems and delivery 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: Smarter consumption and resource management to better meet increasing water, food and energy requirements for a growing global population 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

Source: Emirates News Agency