By Dr. Abdul Rahim Al Wahid
ASTANA: President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev opened the International Specialized Exhibition EXPO-2017 on June 9. Speaking at the ceremony, the Head of the State congratulated everyone on the opening of EXPO-2017 international specialized exhibition in Astana. President noted that Kazakhstan is the first CIS and Eastern European country to hold an exhibition of EXPO with participation of 115 states and 22 international organizations.
I would like to express my gratitude to all countries for accepting our application and the proposed theme. The exhibition on this scale is not only the efforts of one state; it is the work of the international community, representing its achievements here. The international exhibition of EXPO in Astana is a new peak in the promotion of our country and national brand “Kazakhstan” in the global space. Declaring theme “Future Energy”, we intend to be in the very core of scientific progress, Nursultan Nazarbayev said.
During the opening ceremony, a sphere symbolizing Earth floated through the air of the Congress Center Hall. And people in special suits symbolizing humanity followed it. Then, there was a “big bang” on the screen symbolizing the birth of life. After that, the planets appeared, absorbing solar energy. It is this energy in its pure form that is the symbol of the exhibition.
The USA Pavilion at Astana EXPO-2017 opened its doors on 10th June. Chairman of JSC “NC “Astana EXPO-2017” Akhmetzhan Yessimov attended the inauguration ceremony of the pavilion at the EXPO town. “I am very happy to be at this ceremony. Participation of the U.S. in the exhibition is of paramount importance since this country is a global leader and has exciting projects in the sphere of renewable energy. I think everybody realizes how important the USA participation at Astana EXPO-2017 is. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the opening of the USA Pavilion – sponsors and companies that are represented here,” Mr Yessimov said.
He praised Kazakhstan-the U.S. relations that had been developing robustly over the past 25 years. Yessimov expressed special gratitude to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the U.S. to Kazakhstan George Krol and was confident that the USA Pavilion will be very interesting for EXPO guests. Dr. Joshua Walker, President and CEO of the USA Pavilion, noted that the source of endless energy of the U.S. are its people and expressed hope that EXPO visitors will find the USA Pavilion interesting. The 1,100 square meters exhibition space of the USA Pavilion is broken down into three parts: Theater 1 – A Room Full of Energy, Theater 2 – The Energy of Life and Theater 3 – The Pavilion Post Show.
Complementing these multimedia presentations, the Student Ambassador program, facilitated by the Eurasia Foundation, is a foundational component of the USA Pavilion experience. These forty young Americans greet and guide visitors through the Pavilion experience, providing guests first-hand interactions with the next generation of American innovators and leaders.
Russia unveiled one of the biggest pavilions at the International specialized exhibition EXPO-2017. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Kazakhstan Mikhail Bocharnikov said that he is honored to open the pavilion and hopes it will be one of the best at the exhibition. “Everybody will see that Russia makes it its goal to develop innovative energy in the future by using its natural advantages. For instance, the fact that it borders on many seas,” Ambassador Bocharnikov said at the opening ceremony.
A block of ice that Russia brought from the Arctic Region will undoubtedly become the drawing card of the Russian Pavilion. It should be noted that the Arctic Region is considered to be one of the most promising in terms of development of alternative energy in Russia. Fun fact: Instead of cutting the ribbons to unveil the pavilion, Ambassador Bocharnikov, Georgiy Kalamanov and Rapil Zhoshibayev broke the ribbons that were turned into pieces of ice with hammers to celebrate the topic of the pavilion.
The United Nations Organization also unveiled its pavilion at the International specialized exhibition EXPO-2017 in Astana. UN Commissioner-General in EXPO-2017 Cihan Sultanoğlu talked briefly about some of the inventions the organization developed for regions that have the same climatic parameters as Kazakhstan. Cihan Sultanoğlu stressed that the problems of the future energy are relevant for the upcoming generations. In her words, the UN showcases at its pavilion kinetic sand children can play with and learn a lot, a reduced copy of a greenhouse situated in the zone of green energy “Arnasai” and a project on oasis irrigation.
. According to her, Kazakhstan has become somewhat a platform to attract scientific community and experts who can share their experience and knowledge. It is quite symbolic within the framework of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. In conclusion, Cihan Sultanoğlu emphasized that Kazakhstan and the UN enjoy a long-term partnership and wished the organizers success in holding EXPO-2017.
The Austria Pavilion ‘Power Machine’ was also unveiled at EXPO-2017. The 870 square meters exhibition space is filled with exercising equipment that produces energy, music and wind. In order to watch the video clip about Austria and set the pavilion alive its guests will have to literally break a sweat – spin the pedals of bikes, haul at a rope, swing. The guests will see for themselves how hard it is to produce electricity just to boil a kettle, light a lamp, browse the Internet, start a car or an aircraft. The creators of the pavilion draw attention to the potential of a man and are convinced that it is people who determine what energy will be used in the future.
In Saudi Arabia stall presentations were drawing the attention of people. The photo and graphic presentation showed the early Arab legacies to the newly developed technologies and harnessing of Solar Energy. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Falih expressed his confidence on Saturday that Russia, Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia will continue to support the agreement among OPEC and non-OPEC countries to cut oil output. “I am looking forward to discussing the OPEC agreement with Kazakhstan’s Energy Minister Kanat Bozumbayev. Then we will continue the discussion with our counterpart from Russia [Energy Minister] Alexander Novak. I believe that all three countries will continue to fully support the agreement,” Falih said.
Inside and outside the United Arab Emirates Stall was overcrowded by the local and international visitors. H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Emirates Group and Chairman of the Higher Committee of Expo 2020 Dubai inaugurated the pavilion. Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Media Council; Fares Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Advisor at the Presidential Affairs Ministry, and and Dr. Mohammed Al Jaber, UAE Ambassador to Kazakhstan were also present at the occasion.
The pavilion shed light on the history of Emirates to the latest solar energy harnessing Masdar projects. With 87 solar panels on its roof, it can supply as much as 40,000 KWH of electricity to the national grid. Visitors were rejoiced to see the abrupt transformation of this part of the Gulf nations.
Haitham Salah Kamel, Ambassador of Egypt to Kazakhstan inaugurated the Egypt Pavilion at Expo 2017 in Astana. While addressing the reporters the envoy said that the Egypt is moving fast towards the development and the fulfilment of dream 2030. He said more than the tourism our focus is getting towards the development and serving the renewable energy industry in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region. In the energy world we are creating, there will be no such thing such as energy rich and energy poor countries. All countries will have abundant energy resources. There will be no price volatility, energy costs will be stable for decades to come. Households will produce most of the energy they need on their own, to run their houses and cars. Emissions, trash and other energy waste will be recycled into energy sources.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Egypt and Qatar with huge pavilions and distinct programs on sustainable and clean energy and green energy showed strong Arab participation in Kazakhstan Expo-2017.
Meanwhile in a statement issued by United Nations Development Programme, within a decade solar energy could become a significant alternative source of energy for remote communities, UNDP pointed out that solar energy could cover 15 percent of the country’s energy needs by 2030.