Building a more dignified, just world: Expo and the UN unite change-makers to galvanise action on the Sustainable Development Goals

  • Latest talks include film-maker Richard Curtis, humanitarian Dr Jemilah Mahmood 
  • SDGs seek to eradicate poverty, fight inequalities, tackle climate change by 2030
  • Expo Talks: Global Goals previews more exciting content that will inspire visitors

Dubai: The need to build a more dignified and just world brought together experts, Expo Partners and International Participants – alongside renowned humanitarians and a blockbuster film-maker – at Expo 2020 Dubai’s latest virtual thematic programme, Expo Talks: Global Goals.

Held in association with the United Nations on 9-10 March, the event explored the innovative solutions and concrete actions needed to turn the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a blueprint to eradicate poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change by 2030 – into reality.

Highlighting the UAE’s commitment to the Goals and its convening power to galvanise global action, Expo Talks: Global Goals, available on demand, outlined why the world needs urgent progress on the SDGs, why everyone must be involved, and how Expo 2020 will bring the SDGs to life across its entire visitor experience. 

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai and Chair of the National Committee on the Sustainable Development Goals, said: “The SDGs reflect crucial issues that are relevant to us every single one of us. They are at the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai and will cut across our programming in all manner of ways, from spotlighting how countries are placing sustainable development at the core of their strategies, to actively engaging, informing and inspiring millions of citizens to make a conscious difference.

“We have less than a decade left – we must all work together to build on the progress made so far, to continue to work together to make the Global Goals a reality and build a cleaner, safer, healthier, more inclusive future for all.”

Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the United Nations Department of Global Communications and Commissioner General for the UN at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The United Nations values Expo 2020 as a global platform for global dialogue and collaboration. With its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo presents an opportunity to showcase not only the power of ingenuity and innovation to create solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, but also the power of international cooperation to implement and achieve the global goals with dignity and justice for all.”

 His Excellency Abdulla Nasser Lootah, Director General of The Prime Minister’s Office and Vice Chair of the UAE National Committee on the SDGs reiterated UAE leadership’s vision and guidance in building a more sustainable future and instilling the sustainability mindset across various fields and sector in the nation. 

HE Abdulla Nasser Lootah said: “Since its formation in 2017, the UAE National Committee on SDGs has been actively involved in delivering innovative and impactful initiatives and programmes across various sectors, in and outside the UAE, and further strengthening our nation’s critical role as global player and supporter of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.” 

Expo 2020’s Innovative Enterprise Software Partner SAP and its Digital Services Partner Accenture explained how they are backing the UN Global Compact’s ‘SDG Ambition’ – an initiative challenging and supporting business to integrate the SDGs into their core business, while measuring and managing their performance.

SDG Advocates Richard Curtis, the decorated writer and film director behind A-list blockbusters Love Actually and Notting Hill, and Dr Alaa Murabit, UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth, urged the whole world to get involved in achieving the SDGs, and emphasised the importance of promoting them globally through ‘Project Everyone’, a not-for-profit communications agency dedicated to raising awareness and accelerating progress towards the Global Goals.

In another session, renowned humanitarians including Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, and Pascale de la Frégonnière, Strategic Advisor to the Board of Cartier Philanthropy, explored the critical role of women in achieving the SDGs, highlighting existing gender gaps that need to be urgently addressed.

Attendees also glimpsed some of the exciting content that will inspire millions of visitors during Expo, including a taste of the enlightening Global Goals show that will appear on Al Wasl plaza’s 360-degree projection screen; a celebration of female achievements and women change-makers at the Women’s Pavilion; and the specially-curated SDG journeys at the Opportunity Pavilion, which will connect everyone with the Goals and encourage them to become change-makers of the future. 

Expo is already supporting a number of innovative, on-the-ground projects that are working to achieving the SDGs. Under the theme ‘Small Steps, Big Leaps: Simple Solutions for Sustainable Impact’, Expo’s Global Best Practice Programme will spotlight numerous projects over the 182 days of Expo that localise the SDGs and can be adapted, replicated, and scaled for enhanced global impact. 

Global Goals is the ninth in a series of 10 thematic talks – launched in October 2020 with Space – bringing together influential policymakers, thought-leaders, Expo participants and the public to help shape the thought-provoking content and conversations taking place during Expo 2020.

Running from 1 October 2021 until 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will seek collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing issues – including weeks dedicated to Climate and Biodiversity, Knowledge and Learning, and Water – to help build a cleaner, safer and healthier future for all.

About Expo 2020 Dubai:

From 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will bring the world together in a spirit of hope and optimism and with a shared purpose towards solving some of our greatest challenges.

  • It will showcase the greatest innovations, breakthroughs and ideas from around the planet, enabling action towards a better world under its theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ 
  • Expo 2020 will be an endless journey of discovery as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organisations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – harness their collective power to change the world for the better
  • Expo 2020’s sub-themes of OpportunityMobility and Sustainability will inspire visitors to make a conscious effort to think and live differently
  • An entertaining global celebration with something for everyone, Expo 2020 will wow visitors with daily events, showcasing the best of technology, creativity and culture, while F&B outlets will feature cuisine from around the world
  • The first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), located on a 4.38 sqkm site adjacent to Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai South 
  • Built with a long-term legacy in mind, the Expo site is an example of innovation in action and will transform into District 2020, a blueprint for human-centric, smart and sustainable cities of the future, after Expo 2020 closes its doors

How to cover Expo 2020 Dubai in person at event time or report on the event remotely

To attend Expo 2020 or cover Expo 2020 remotely using content and assets generated by Expo, you must be accredited. 

To kick off your journey with Expo 2020, please ensure that you:

1. Register to access our Media Information System, Tawassul at

Tawassul is regularly updated, providing the latest content assets, including press releases, photographs, audio and video, the electronic media kit, and information on broadcast and photography operations. It also provides you with important information and updates on facilities and services such as media accreditation, visa information for international accredited media, and permits. Access to other media-related systems (Media Asset Management System and Media Bookings System), which will be launched in Q2 2021, will only be permitted to accredited media (see below). Information about these systems can be found on Tawassul.

2. Once registered, submit an Expo 2020 Media Accreditation expression of interest. 

Within this expression of interest, please appoint an Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) from within your organisation who will act as the single point of contact with Expo 2020 for media accreditation. Following this, approved media organisations will be provided login details and instructions for the accreditation system to enable them to submit applications.

About World Expos:

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment. 

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.