Expo 2020 Dubai event to explore the future of smart cities and sustainable habitats


Leading development experts, technology visionaries and government officials from some of the world’s most populous and resilient cities are set to gather virtually for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Urban and Rural Development Week to discuss the future of smart cities and sustainable habitats.

Hosted by Expo 2020 and delivered in collaboration with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Siemens, Expo’s Premier Infrastructure Digitalisation Partner, Urban and Rural Development Week will take place on November 3-4, 2020, and will look at how the world’s population will live and grow in harmony with our planet.

Reem Al Hashimy, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, said: “The promise of a better future rests on the notion that everyone in the world has a right to safety, shelter and opportunities for advancement. Cities and rural areas around the world, as well as formal and informal settlements, are facing an escalating burden to provide round-the-clock access to services and utilities.

“With the help of the brightest minds in the management and development of our habitats, Expo 2020 Dubai is inviting the world to explore how we can ensure that the habitats of the future are smart, resilient and sustainable, where no one is left behind.”

Apart from Reem Al Hashimy, those who will be addressing the event will be Helmut von Struve, Chief Executive Officer, Siemens UAE and Middle East, and Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat.

The event will also feature a session, co-curated with the Executive Council of Dubai, with opening remarks from Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality and Member of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, with some of the world’s prominent mayors and urban planners, including Mxolisi Kaunda, Mayor of Durban, South Africa; Diana Alarcón González, Chief Advisor and Director of International Affairs, Mexico City; and Dr Davide Ponzini, PhD, Associate Professor of Urban Planning, Politecnico di Milano, Italy.

Expo 2020 Dubai Mobility District. (Supplied)

Other notable speakers include David Lecoque, Chief Executive Officer at Alliance for Rural Electrification and the Honourable Virginia Raggi, Mayor of Rome, Italy, as well as representatives from a range of organisations dedicated to improving the lives of people in urban and rural and communities, including C40 Cities.

Series of 10 pre-Expo thematic weeks

Urban and Rural Development Week is the third in a series of 10 pre-Expo thematic weeks – launched last month with Space Week – that bring together influential policy makers, industry chiefs and experts, Expo participants and the public to explore specific challenges and share ideas towards their solutions.

Featuring Q&A sessions and panel discussions, they will help shape the thought-provoking content and conversations taking place during the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, where participants will seek collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues – including the Global Goals; Climate and Biodiversity; Knowledge and Learning; Space; and Water – to help shape a better, more sustainable future for all.

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