Expo drives efforts to address world’s greatest challenges

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The Global Goals Week has culminated with a promise to keep driving efforts to address the world’s biggest challenges, reports Asian Lite News

Expo 2020 Dubai has ended its Global Goals Week on Saturday with a promise to keep driving efforts to address the world’s biggest challenges.

“It is up to each and every one of us, individually and collectively, to turn this engagement into partnerships and investments that tangibly improve people’s lives everywhere,” Amina J Mohammed said at the launch at Al Wasl Plaza last week. “With the Global Goals woven into the fabric of Expo 2020, I cannot think of a more appropriate place for us to renew our shared commitment to keep the promises that we made in 2015.”

Since then, Global Goals Week – held in association with the UN, and staged outside New York for the first time – has hosted a myriad of special hybrid events, activations and unforgettable visitor experiences, each highlighting our collective, urgent need to address the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before the end of 2030.

Speakers at headline event ‘Global Goals for All’ at the Nexus for People and Planet in Expo’s Opportunity District included Sanda Ojiambo, CEO and Executive Director, UN Global Compact; Jerome Foster II, US climate justice activist and youngest-ever White House Climate Advisor; the Rt Hon Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand; and SDG advocates British screenwriter Richard Curtis and US actress Robin Wright.

Joining virtually, Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, “If we’re going to reach the critical goals by 2030, we need 2022 and every year after to be a year of action. It’s going to take all hands on deck – governments, philanthropies, non-profits and the private sector; a committed focus to working together to reach the SDGs in the next years.”

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UN Global Compact’s Sanda Ojiambo said, “We need business leaders to make bold business decisions for the future, we need businesses to integrate the [SDGs] into their corporate strategies, and we need businesses to account for their externalities in the same way they account for their business losses.”

Similarly, innovations that tackle the 17 SDGs need partnership, accountability and collaboration if they are to scale up and make an even bigger impact in communities all over the world, speakers agreed at Expo 2020 Dubai’s Global Best Practice Assembly.

The inaugural Water-Food-Energy (WFE) Summit saw the UAE, Jordan and the Netherlands issue a trilateral declaration affirming their commitment to supporting a nexus approach that optimises the use of water, food and energy, and called on other governments to acknowledge the inter-dependent relationships between these three critical resources.

Three separate World Majlis sessions throughout the week brought together leaders from government, social enterprises, academia and inter-governmental organisations, discussing the numerous risks and honing in on emerging technologies and renewable energy – sharing different approaches on how to overcome barriers, from value-driven partnerships to debunking stereotypes.

Underpinning all these efforts, the need to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment was highlighted as essential, not only for the sake of fulfilling a human right but also for the advancement of humankind.

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Rt Hon Helen Clark said, “If we can’t achieve SDG 5 [Gender Equality], then we can’t achieve the SDGs. When women have less access to healthcare and education, and are more numerous among the poor and hungry, you just can’t make progress. Turn that around: if women are fully supported, then you are not only fulfilling their right to equality, but it’s also a huge contributor to prosperous societies, families and economies.”

Other stand-outs throughout the week included an inspirational ‘H2O Sounds of Earth’ session, which showed how communities in Paraguay are promoting sustainable values and good citizen practices through music. The week culminated with a stunning ‘Cultures in Conversation’ performance by Sima Dance Company, which, like the Goals themselves, was driven by dignity, a desire for peace, and sensitivity to the planet and its inhabitants.

Driving action towards achieving the Global Goals will continue throughout the rest of Expo 2020 Dubai, catalysing a movement that will help create a blueprint for our collective future that positively impacts people and the planet.