Strong EU presence at EXPO2020’s Global Goals Week


The World celebrates the Global Goals Week at EXPO2020 with high-level presence from around the world and many events and activities organised in partnership with the United Nations.



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The European Union is an official participant at EXPO2020 Dubai organised under the theme “Connecting minds, creating the future” and is contributing with a dense programme of activities underpinning EU priorities in six core areas: sustainability, innovation, inclusion & quality (with a focus on women empowerment), food & health, business cooperation and intercultural dialogue.

For the Global Goals Week at EXPO2020 (15-22 January) the EU has organised a broad set of activities in partnership with several European Union Member States including Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden in addition to participating to EXPO2020 activities.

The events brought together local, national and European policymakers, businesses, researchers and civil society and the European Union was represented both at the technical and at the political with key contributions by:

  • Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, responsible for the Green Deal,
  • Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen, responsible for International Partnerships,
  • Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, responsible for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth,
  • Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevičius, responsible for Environment, Ocean and Fisheries.


Find out more about EU’s initiatives organised at EXPO2020 for Global Goals Week below:

EU Circular Economy Days

On 17-18 January, the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform organised the Circular Europe Days, a series of events in five national pavilions. During two days, the pavilions of The Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Poland, and Ireland hosted the events to showcase Europe's excellence in the circular economy. The Platform is a joint initiative by the European Commission and the European and Social Committee to foster the transition to the circular economy.

The two-day event was the occasion to discuss how to move from a linear economic model to a circular economy model. Key issues were addressed by high-level speakers and professionals from the European Union, national and local governments, academia and the business sector. On a practical level, a matchmaking session to connect circular economy companies, co-organised with the Enterprise Europe Network runs from 17-22 January.

An inspiring statement by European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans opened the event (full speech and opening ceremony available here).

“We must find a way to prosper together. This is precisely what the European Green Deal is about. The transition to the circular economy is at the heart of the EU Green Deal to reach climate neutrality by 2050”.European Commission V-P Frans Timmermans

European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans

Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries

Highlighting the key role of civil society in the transition to a circular economy, the Vice President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Cillian Lohan, joined the closing session of the Circular Europe Days live from Brussels, noting that building networks, showcasing best practices, and spreading the knowledge are among the Platform's core competences.

'In times where we all look for change, the circular economy can be a transformative force' – European Economic and Social Committee V-P Cillian Lohan

Virginijus Sinkevičius, EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries provided the closing statement: “We want to ensure that our trade agreements support sustainability and prosperity worldwide” (full speech available here, min. 1h11).

Transformative Strategies – Architecture as Caregiver

Transformative Strategies: Architecture as Caregiver

The EU organised the opening of the exhibition “Transformative Strategies: Architecture as Caregiver” at the Lithuania Pavilion on 17th January with the participation of Simonas Gentvilas, Minister of Environment of the Republic of Lithuania. The exhibition showcases some of the winners and finalists of the “EU prize for Contemporary Architecture, Mies van der Rohe Award”.

The prize supported by Creative Europe has been awarded biennially since 1988 and contributes to the debate on quality architecture and its positive impact for people. Ultimately, it raises awareness of the need to achieve equity and democracy through inclusion and acceptance of diversity and highlights the role of architecture in fostering social inclusion, sustainability while pursing aesthetic research (most of the works were object of urban regeneration interventions and focus on circularity).

The opening of the exhibition was the occasion for the Pietro De Matteis, Deputy Commissioner General for the European Union at EXPO2020 to announce the 40 shortlisted works by the 2022 jury: the works are spread out in 18 different European countries and 32 cities and towns.

On the occasion of the announcement, Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, stated: 

“Rethinking the way we are building is a must. High-quality architecture is a cornerstone of the European Commission’s approach to sustainability. In redefining European architects’ role as caregivers, architecture contributes to the European Green deal and its cultural component: the “New European Bauhaus”.

The EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture - the Mies van der Rohe Award, highlights the contribution of architecture to sustainable development. We need young people, architects, artists, education and cultural professionals, innovators, entrepreneurs and regional authorities from all over Europe to actively engage and benefit from this initiative.”

The importance of high-quality of architecture for an inclusive and sustainable living environment is discussed a recent report published by the European Commission in cooperation with Member States experts and is at the heart of the “Council conclusions on culture, high-quality architecture and built environment as key elements of the New European Bauhaus initiative” adopted on 30th November 2021.

The exposition was previously hosted by the Ireland Pavilion. The announcement of the prize was reported in international press around the world: El País (Spain), Arquitectura y Diseño (Spain), 324 (Catalonia), Archdaily (World), W-A (World), Projektiuutiset (Finland), Arquine (Mexico), Jyllands Posten (Denmark), Architects Journal (UK), Arkitera (Turkey), Telegraf Design (Ukraine), Publico (Portugal) , Octogon (Hungary), (Poland), Radio Nacional: El Ojo Crítico Informativo 24 Horas (Spain), Catalunya Ràdio: Perspectiva (Catalonia).

A key focus on the exhibition in Dubai: “Transformation Strategies: European Architecture as Caregiver”: Pilotas (Lithuania), LRT (Lithuania), Architektusajunga (Lithuania)

A Shared Sustainable Recovery Based on SDGS

The high level forum “A Shared Sustainable Recovery Based on SDGS” was held at the Italy Pavilion on January 18th. The Italian Alliance for Sustainable Development, IsDB, Italian Pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai and the European Union (Directorate General for International Partnerships) organised a discussion to take stock of and discuss global, national and regional best practices to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic effects at global level.

The opening statement was delivered by the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Amina J Mohammed: “To achieve the SDGs we must increase the participation of young people and women in all decision-making processes, taking into account the interests of future generations". The EU was represented by Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director General at the European Commission’s DG International Partnerships and the Italian Government was represented by Minister Giovannini.

On this occasion Jutta Urpilainen, EU commissioner for International Partnerships noted:

“The SDGs are our shared compass in building a sustainable path out of the pandemic. This is why we organised this important event during the Global Goals Week at Dubai EXPO on 18 January 2022. And I would like to thank the Emirati partners for their hospitality and all partners and participants who engaged actively and interactively in this event.

The EU works through partnerships to put the 2030 Agenda back on track. Both inside and outside the EU, the European Green Deal as well as our other key policies put the SDGs at the very centre of our actions.

At global level, together with our Member States and European Financial Institutions, we work as Team Europe to support partner countries to respond to COVID-19 through a sustainable recovery. We are strong supporters of the multilateral efforts towards a more sustainable future.

We have now launched the new Global Gateway Partnerships Strategy, which will promote sustainable connectivity and private investment around the world, anchored in the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. It is a call to action and open to our partners.”

More info and reports:

New Investment Models for Urban Innovation Ecosystems


The event “New Investment Models for Urban Innovation Ecosystems” organised by the European Commissions’ Joint Research Centre at the Sweden Pavilion on 21 January considered the analysis of innovation districts and their impact on mobilising additional investments through the employment of suitable financing mechanisms and instruments. The event was organised around two panel discussions on Innovation ecosystems and Innovation Districts and on how to build Public Private Partnerships and attract investment for innovation districts. The event also contains presentations on two JRC studies on “PPs for Science and Technology Parks and Innovation Districts” and on“Innovative investment models for sustainable and inclusive urban innovation ecosystems” and will analyse case studies of innovation districts in Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Germany.

New Investment Models for Urban Innovation Ecosystems

More than Food

More than Food, Great Stories to Share stand

The campaign “More than Food, Great Stories to Share” organised by the European Commission (Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development) has also reached its second stop in Dubai and between 18/01 until 06/02 (from 15:00 to 21:00) can be found at La Mer in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The EU Caravan allows tasting high quality European products from all regions and all European Member States with a focus on sustainable agricultural systems.

Live cooking shows held on Friday and Saturday (15:30 - 20:15) by Chef Crestale, Chef Karidis, Chef Zapata and Chef Nadje.

More info at:  and on Instagram: @morethanfoodme

More than Food, Great Stories to Share stand

Water-Food-Energy Summit

On January 18th the European Union also participated in the panel discussion “Water-Food-Energy Summit” organised by EXPO2020 to discuss governance, partnerships, and financing for the WFE nexus to move beyond silos and provide opportunities for mutually beneficial solutions, enhancing the potential for cooperation between and among all sectors.

The EU was represented by EU Ambassador Andrea Matteo Fontana.

two panelists discussing at water food energy summit

Thematic Business Forum Global Goals

The EU also took part in the “Thematic Business Forum Global Goals“ on 18th January. The Fireside Chat “Digital transformation as an accelerator for the Sustainable Development Goals“ was organised by Estonia, one of the most advanced EU Member States when it comes to digitalisation. The high-level event was occasion to discuss the importance of global cooperation and partnerships on digitalization to reach the SDGs in the decade of action, and how AU-EU Digital 4 Development hubs are contributing to meet the Global Goals. The EU was represented by Deputy Director General Myriam Ferran who underlined the EU’s commitment to a just, fair and human centre digital transformation. Among the participants were also Eva-Maria Liimets, Estonian Foreign Minister and Maher Nasser, Director of the Outreach Division in the UN Department of Global Communications and General Commissioner of the United Nations at Expo 2020.

EU presence at EXPO2020 Dubai

A dedicated website in English and Arabic promotes EU’s presence at Expo 2020 Dubai, as well as a WebApp application allowing citizens around the world to know more about the EU and its 27 EU Member States. On social media, EU’s presence can be followed through the hashtag #EUatEXPO and via the Twitter account of the EU Delegation to the UAE @EUintheUAE

The EU team at Expo 2020 is led by Andrea Matteo Fontana, EU Ambassador to the UAE and Commissioner General for the EU at Expo 2020 and by Pietro De Matteis as Deputy Commissioner General.


Twitter/Twitter: @EUintheUAE


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