Expo flag to be handed over to Dubai
ASTANA: The president of Kazakhstan officially closed Expo Astana 2017 and called the three-month event – the theme of which was “Future Energy” – an accomplishment.
“The Expo has been a success. This is one of Kazakhstan’s most brilliant achievements since its independence,” Kazakh President NursultanNazarbayev said at the international fair’s closing ceremony at the Astana Congress Center, where the baton was passed to Dubai, the next city to host the international exposition in 2020.
Bureau International des Expositions Secretary General Vicente Loscertales also described Expo 2017 as “a tremendous success.”
During its three-month run, the fair was attended by almost four million visitors and some 50 international leaders, in addition to hosting more than 3,000 artistic, cultural and sporting events.
“Between 40,000 and 50,000 people visited the exhibition every day. Half a million people came to the Expo from 180 different countries. That is, one in every six visitors were foreigners,” Nazarbayev said.
The fair has been a great economic and tourist boost to this former Soviet republic and, according to the Central Asian country’s leader, it has been a catalyst for interactions between business and science.
The Expo flag was presented to BIE President Stein Christensen, who will hand it over to Dubai.
The closing ceremony included a number of concerts and a light and laser show that presented a future world based on the importance of renewable energy, a reference to the central theme of the Expo Astana 2017.
At the ceremony, some of the 153 inventions displayed at the Expo were presented, including public lighting generated via the kinetic energy that people produce when walking down the street and energy generated by plants through photosynthesis.
In addition, 2,232 people, representing the number of hours the international exhibition has been open, formed a human chain from the Astana Congress Center to the NurAlem Pavilion, the largest spherical construction in the world, measuring 80 meters in diameter and the symbol of the Expo.
During the closing ceremony there was an impressive fireworks show that lit up both the Expo site and Kazakhstan’s modern capital.
Expo Astana exceeded expectations in terms of international visitors with 115 countries and 22 international organizations taking part.
The fair invited participants and visitors to reflect on the importance of moving towards a global energy system that is increasingly based on renewable sources, helping to reduce CO2 emissions and dependence on oil and increase the energy autonomy of different regions and communities.
A number of hotels were built especially for the Expo with capacity for 35,000 people, along with residences for 40,000 students.
Moreover, the capital transport system was improved and a new megaterminal was built at the Astana International Airport, to increase capacity from 3.6 million to 8.2 million passengers per year.
In addition, Kazakhstan concluded bilateral and multilateral “open skies” agreements for the three months of Expo and relaxed its visa regime for dozens of countries.
Meanwhile, UAE National Media Council Director General Mansour Al Mansouri said in his speech said that the UAE participation in EXPO-2017 rendered a unique occasion to demonstrate the efforts of the country in forming of the future energy sector, and also in studying revolutionary practices, key trends and technologies of other countries within the theme of ‘Future Energy’.
“The EXPO-2017 Exhibition confirmed the importance of renewable energy, development of green economy and once again stressed the necessity of implementation of new technologies in this line. It found its reflection in the UAE strategy of diversification of energy resources with a particular focus on alternative energy sources. It is aimed at establishment of beneficial balance of different energy sources: the sun, water and wind. As the result of this activity, the global headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency was established in the capital of the UAE – Abu Dhabi,” concluded Mansour Al Mansouri.
Author is senior editor at Media Hub Int’l Dubai