Promoting Sustainability and the UN at Dubai Expo: A Blog by a UN Resident Coordinator |

“This expo differs from other expos in that the UAE government has chosen to use it to show the importance of global collaboration and building a better, sustainable future. So the topic fits right in with the main mandate and interests of the United Nations. It is also the largest, with almost every country in the world represented.

Conor Lennon / UN News

SDG wheel in the Opportunity Pavilon, Dubai Expo 2020

Anchored in Expo

The UN Hub is part of one of the anchor pavilions called Opportunity Pavilion Mission Possible, which emphasizes the importance of individual action for achieving the Sustainable development goals (SDGs).

There’s a big UN hub sign outside so everyone knows this applies to the many different parts of the organization, and we’ve set up the room to bring the UN messages to the expo, currently with a photo exhibition showing people off the whole environment represents the world.

It is a flexible space that allows us to show films, organize panel discussions and exhibitions. The photo exhibition on display comes from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), which is about understanding the challenges women face in all parts of the world, especially in times of crisis.

We have had other exhibitions here, like an SDG art exhibition to help the public understand how the goals are carried over to the United Arab Emirates and another to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s founding and partnership Nations celebrate with the country during these years.


The Al-Wasl Dome, the heart of the Dubai Expo 2020

Conor Lennon / UN News

The Al-Wasl Dome, the heart of the Dubai Expo 2020

An opportunity to connect

It is a great opportunity for the United Nations to be in this place where we can reach so many people, in a country with a population of around 200 nationalities and a popular international tourist hub.

What I have found in my personal commitment and that of my colleagues is that many people have preconceived ideas about the United Nations and its tasks.

In the first seven weeks or so I would say about 20,000 people visited the hub. Some come for 10 minutes or so, others want to stay longer and have a more in-depth discussion about what we are doing.

We also had a lot of contacts with the Member States at different levels, as parliamentary and government delegations come to Dubai for their own engagements at the Expo.

This is the first time since the pandemic that so many people from around the world have come together to discuss sustainability issues and building a better future. And the message I get from dignitaries and ordinary people is that they know the UN is here, they want to visit us and find out what we can do together to shape this future. “


View of Business Bay, Dubai, from the JW Marriott Marquis

Conor Lennon / UN News

View of Business Bay, Dubai, from the JW Marriott Marquis


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