Interview, News|

'We’re seeing great new partnerships arise between businesses and governments.’

The Netherlands has supported the proposal for postponement, can you explain that decision?
Covid-19 has had a major impact on everyone’s daily lives and on large (international) events such as Expo 2020 in Dubai. That’s why the Netherlands has decided to support the proposal for a one-year postponement. It’s not realistic and responsible to continue this international event in 2020, in which 192 countries participate and where millions of visitors come together. Countries and companies are preoccupied with other matters, for which they now have all the space and time needed. I am pleased that we have been able to reach this decision together with all countries. Only by working together, we can overcome this crisis.

Will this decision change anything about the Dutch participation?
We’re still as thrilled and excited, as we continue to consider Expo 2020 an important international event. Furthermore, we’ve noticed that out multi-year commitment to water, energy and food has become more relevant than ever. Climate and health are important themes to which we will pay extra attention within the Dutch participation. The Netherlands wants to contribute to a more sustainable world, by working together and by sharing knowledge. We have been doing that in the Gulf for years, and we will continue to do so. Expo 2020 will be one of the first major events on a global level, after the Corona crisis.

Are Dutch companies and institutions supporting this decision?
Such a decision cannot easily be made. Before we gave advice to the Expo organisation and the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), we first spoke to our partners and advisory groups. All parties involved, informed us that they fully unanimously support the postponement of the Expo. Understandably, as everyone has been impacted by the Corona crisis. I am therefore very happy that we are now all given the space to focus on recovering first, so that we can focus on the preparations for this great event next year.

How will programming around and during the Expo be implemented?
We plan to resume programming in autumn. This has also been discussed with the companies and partners involved. We will be working on shaping programming from now onwards. It will be a different world after the Corona crisis; that’s something we will have to anticipate. We encourage you to keep an eye on our website and / or the newsletter. As soon as more is known, we will communicate it through these channels.

What will your commitment for the upcoming period look like? #dutchsolutions
Collaboration is something that occurs naturally in the Netherlands, and it shows now. In fact, in times of crisis, we do not slow down. We’re often going to work even harder. I’m proud to say that some wonderful new collaborations are emerging between companies and governments, especially in these Covid-19 times. This is exactly the key point of our participation in Expo 2020 with the theme: “Connecting minds, creating the future”. We want to share this inspiring #dutchsolutions with the entire world to show what a small country can do.

How are you currently coping with this exceptional situation? What’s it like to be living in the UAE now?
Fortunately, I am doing well and so does my family. Just like for anyone else, it takes some adjustment to handle the situation. The UAE takes the fight against the virus very seriously; they’re very committed to keeping its residents healthy and safe. This may result in strict measures, but they also pay off.

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