A high-level delegation from Saudi Arabia today promised to create the most impactful World Expo ever if it wins the backing of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) member countries to host Riyadh Expo 2030.
At the BIE’s 172nd General Assembly meeting in Paris, the Kingdom’s delegation said that the overarching theme of its Riyadh Expo 2030 bid “Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow” would put special emphasis on technology and innovation, sustainability and global cooperation.
This commitment translates into ensuring that the voice of every participating country, developed or developing, will be heard, and that each will have its own pavilion – with the help of an assistance package made available by Saudi Arabia.
The Kingdom’s own transformation journey, under the Vision 2030 program, will see its culminating year in 2030, and Saudi Arabia is eager to share its experience with the rest of the world, the delegation told representatives of 179 BIE member countries, underlining that the bid has the support of the highest level of government.
“It is a strategic priority for the Kingdom to deliver an Expo built by the world, for the world,” His Highness Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the General Assembly.
“We are confident of our ability to deliver an unprecedented experience to the world, with persistent ambition and dedication throughout government and across the whole of society,” he told the delegates.
The minister said that the bid was built on the Kingdom’s ongoing commitment to developing countries, and includes an assistance package for developing countries of USD343 million destined for around 100 eligible nations.
They will be selected according to pre-set criteria, and assistance will go towards the costs of participating in Riyadh Expo 2030, including for design and construction, operations, personnel, marketing support and events.
There will be further partnership programs, also involving Saudi Arabia’s leading private-sector companies. “This reflects our commitment to a truly inclusive World Expo,” the minister said.
He reminded delegates that 48 percent of Riyadh’s population of over 7 million are non-Saudis, coming from more than 80 countries. “It’s a city proud of its deeply-rooted authentic identity and rich cultural heritage,” the minister said.
In line with its own climate commitments, Saudi Arabia has the stated aim of making Riyadh Expo 2030 the most sustainable World Expo ever, going beyond carbon neutrality to achieve a net positive for the environment.
“The work has already begun,” said H.E. Eng. Ibrahim Al-Sultan, Chairman of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City. “We are planning to build Riyadh Expo 2030 ahead of schedule, with the broadest possible participation and opportunity-sharing, and a focus on sustainability and accessibility,” he said.
The Saudi delegation said that the Kingdom will create an area – C3 – dedicated to innovation and excellence at Riyadh Expo 2030, as part of its lasting legacy.
The Expo C3 Area will be hosted within the Royal Pavilion, underlining its importance to Riyadh Expo 2030. C3, which stands for Collaborative Change Corner, will be an engine of innovation inspiring talent, creativity and ingenuity during the seven-year journey to Riyadh Expo 2030 and beyond.
The aim is to show how cooperation between the most brilliant minds in terms of scientific, social and intellectual innovations can accelerate the necessary changes that will shape our future, along the lines of Riyadh Expo 2030’s three sub-themes – A Different tomorrow, Climate Action and Prosperity for All.
In a stunning display held on the Champ de Mars green space near the Eiffel Tower, Saudi Arabia presented a virtual tour of the Kingdom’s capital, which is fast becoming one of the world’s most exciting cities.
“The story of Saudi Arabia, the story of Riyadh, our story is unfolding before your very eyes. New chapters are being written every day,” said H.R.H. Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the United States of America.
“There has been more change in Saudi Arabia in the last eight years than over the last 80. Imagine what the Kingdom will look like in 2030,” she told the General Assembly, adding: “You can be part of that new narrative.”
The Ambassador added: “Riyadh Expo 2030 will be about connection, diversity and inclusion. Everyone is welcome, no matter your country, culture, race, gender or religion. Riyadh is ready to welcome you.”
Offering a first taste of the Riyadh Expo 2030 experience, the virtual tour allowed guests to experience their arrival at King Salman International Airport, take a trip on Riyadh Metro along the city’s landmarks including Sports Boulevard and King Salman Park, and arrive at their destination, the Riyadh Expo 2030 site.
The capital’s world-class transport system will make Riyadh Expo 2030 the most-connected ever, with the trip from the airport to the Expo site taking only one metro stop.
Emphasising the strategic importance of Riyadh Expo 2030 for the Kingdom, H.E. Eng. Khaled Al-Falih, Minister of Investment, said the budget for the Expo would be $7.8 billion, a sum that he said was “catalytic to our broader Riyadh investment plans”.
As part of Vision 2030, the Kingdom is targeting countrywide investments of more than $3.3 trillion by the end of the decade, with at least 30 percent earmarked for Riyadh.
The minister said that Saudi Arabia also wanted to maximise the opportunities offered by Riyadh Expo 2030 for investors and contractors.
The Expo site, he said, would be a global meeting hub for businesses to explore investment development themes. To that end, the Kingdom would launch a Global Investment Lab “that will be a true innovation hub for all countries”, he said.
The next BIE General Assembly will be held in November 2023 when the World Expo 2030 host city will be elected through a secret ballot on the principle of one country, one vote.