In this second article of our World Expo series, Matteo Pederzoli puts Astana on the map and wonders how associations, like the ones you, our dear readers, represent, are planning to get involved in the 2017 Expo. There seems to be a lot of ways to do so.
Imagine a city that was funded just 19 years ago in the middle of the steppe, after having been master-planned by Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa. With a skyline punctuated by Norman Foster-designed buildings and glowing towers, Astana, which in Kazakh language means “the capital”, has been quickly and ambitiously rising as Central Asia’s new hub for renewable energy and finance. Whereas the overall Expo theme is aimed to concentrate on innovative, practical energy solutions to ensure safe and sustainable access to energy for all while reducing CO2 emissions, and on their global impact, the 25-hectare Expo site will become the location of a regional financial centre after the three-month-long event, taking place from 10 June to 10 September of next year.
The Vision of “Future Energy” is to highlight solutions and paths that ensure sustainable energy management.These pathways are aimed at combating climate change and reducing CO2 emissions; promoting energy alternatives – renewable energy in particular – and driving energy efficiency programmes; ensuring energy security; managing energy production, storage and use; and guaranteeing universal access to sustainable energy. The Mission of “Future Energy” is to appeal to the international community’s sense of responsibility by way of institutions, organisations, corporations, and individuals, with the aim of generating debate and awareness regarding the decisive impact that energy management has on the lives of people and that of the planet.
Expo Astana 2017 “Future Energy” has been conceived as an extensive, integral project that addresses the topic of energy from several social, cultural and environmental perspectives, allowing for it to be studied as a determining factor in how societies and everyday life function. And guiding the five million target visitors – 15% of whom are expected to benefit from the ad-hoc visa waiver programme, and to travel to Kazakhstan mainly from CIS, China and Europe – through their essential, active role in the design and execution of a plan for energy efficient production and use.
Infrastructure development is proceeding at full speed both within the city and on the Expo site, as the country gets ready to become the first former Soviet Republic to host a World Specialised Exhibition. Twenty-four new hotels are being built to accommodate 35,000 tourists/day. 6,813 events are planned during the Expo trimester, inclusive of B2B and B2C tracks, and ranging from of a global summit on “Energy Finances” organised by Bloomberg to a custom Cirque du Soleil show production.
As the Expo site re-emerged from the freezing winter (but the average summer daily temperature is 25C!), construction is hastening to deliver the “shell and core” by 1 November 2016 (two months ahead of the original schedule and before the snow covers it again!) so that fitting out of the site and installations may begin before the New Year’s Holiday Season “winter wonderland” lethargy. The site has a convenient access to Astana’s city centre, the international airport and the railway station.
By May, 87 countries (against a target of 100) and 15 international organisations had confirmed participation in next year’s world’s top event for the energy sector. Amongst the global corporate players planning to exhibit are Shell, Saint-Gobain, Cisco, Samsung, ExxonMobil, Eni and Total. Amongst the confirmed international organisations associations could partner with are the Energy Charter, the European Commission, the International Atomic Energy Agency, IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), SE4ALL – Sustainable Energy 4 All, UNDP (United Nations Development Programme), UNESCO (United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture), UNIDO (UN Industrial Development Organisation) and The World Bank. How’s your association planning to get involved? And to contribute to Astana’s twentieth birthday’s celebrations?!
For more information on the Expo 2017 see expo2017astana.com.
You can read our first article on World Expo Series here.
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