The Netherlands contributes to the World Exhibition Expo 2020 Dubai focusing on the Theme Uniting Water, Energy and Food. Water (SDG 6) is crucial in this triangle. Water is needed to produce Energy and Food and plays an important role in climate change and the cities of tomorrow. From this perspective, the Netherlands focuses mainly on subthemes: Climate Adaptation, Water Smart Cities, Water Quality and Circular Economy.

Under the subthemes Climate Adaptation, Water Smart Cities, Water Quality and Circular Economy, The Netherlands will focus on following thematic areas:

  • Water in Urban Areas
  • Water and Technology
  • Water – Food – Energy
  • Water and Climate; Delta’s, Coasts and Integrated Water Management

Throughout the Expo 2020 Dubai, these themes will be highlighted with an inspiring series of events. The core of these events is an in-depth cooperation between countries and cities worldwide. The Netherlands invites other countries to cooperate within these specific themes and programs, in order to bundle forces and to create a truly global exchange of challenges and solutions.

The Urban and Rural Development Week – Climate Adaptation and Water Smart Cities


During the Urban and Rural Development Week, 31 October – 6 November 2021, the programme will focus on the Urban challenges: an estimated nine billion people will live in large urban areas by 2050. Clean water for people, industry, and food will become a challenge created by population pressure, infrastructure congestion, rising sea level and weather changes. Flood risk, water contamination and water shortages are already threats in many places. Connecting minds and create future solutions for these complex challenges is crucial.

Stormwater management and heat stress

Worldwide necessity to create cities that are resilient, adaptive and future-proof, becomes more urgent every day. All over the world, cities get more and more familiar with the challenges and consequences of climate change. Whereas climate related events used to occur once in a lifetime, they now have become a part of daily life. Each month there is a new wake-up call: the ongoing forest fires in Australia, or the flooding in Jakarta or Venice. Urban Resilience continues to receive considerable attention worldwide due to trends such as urbanization, demographic changes and climate change. The contribution of the Netherlands will focus on the subthemes stormwater management and heat stress.

“Doing nothing is not an option”; the obligation to develop resilient cities is imminent and indispensable.

Leading up to the Urban and Rural Development Week at the Dubai Expo, the Netherlands will connect to multiple cities worldwide and co-create a programme of lessons learned and international best practices, challenges and solutions for cities’ resilience aspects. Activities will be coordinated with organizations such as C40 and the Global Resilient Cities Network (GRCN).

The outcome of the above-mentioned main theme and subtheme discussions will lead to a programme in the Netherlands Pavilion on 31 October and 1 November 2021. The programme will feature an overview of global outcomes of the inventory of lessons learned and global best practices, followed by a variety of sub sessions lead by the participating cities including in-depth discussion on the mentioned subthemes and leading to collective conclusions on the next steps to take on a global scale.

The above-mentioned programme on Urban Resilience will be followed by The Netherlands National Day on 3 November.

The Global Goals Week, 16 – 22 January 2022, will be our focus, as the world needs to find new solutions for global water challenges, focusing on water quality and circularity.

From drinking water technology to wastewater technologies, agricultural and food connections, and industrial water use challenges, solutions need to be practical, efficient, sustainable and cost-effective. The worlds’ water supply has to enter a new era, changing from a linear supply chain to a circular one. A global exchange and discussion of leading edge water technologies will be made available within our programs.

Centuries of living below sea level in a delta traversed by three major rivers, delta and water technology have always been a challenge for the Netherlands. This history has created an entrepreneurial spirit and will to innovate, demonstrated by start-ups and scale-ups that devise new solutions for water related problems.

Technology is fundamental in addressing issues such as the reuse of wastewater and adding value to the water cycle to make it more sustainable. Innovation in water technology is all about the water cycle and the need to reduce, reuse and recover wastewater. Water technology, however, is not a stand-alone sector, but is part of a water management strategy in which integrated solutions and a multi-stakeholder approach are key elements.

For the Global Goals Week, The Netherlands invites partners countries and organizations to jointly present and discuss the challenges and solutions within the global water sector, with a strong link to Food and Energy sectors, thus on the WEF nexus. Circular economy challenges and solutions are centralized in this week. The programme will result in a platform with multiple global stakeholders, offering global exchange of challenges and solutions. At the same time the programme will also focus on the regional challenges and solutions (GCC region).

The programme of The Netherlands in this week will include following components:

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week

During this week, the renowned Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will take place, on 17-18-19 January 2022. Especially this 2022 edition will have huge regional and global participation due to the connection with the Expo 2020 Dubai. The basis for The Netherlands participation will be a large Pavilion, enabling connections with Circular Economy, Food and Energy components as well. Besides the exhibition participation, a tailored meeting programme will be part of the overall programming.


In the Global Goals Week, The Netherlands will organize a global water technology programme in The Netherlands Pavilion at Dubai Expo. It will focus on a variety of water technology aspects, with a view on global challenges and solutions as well as regional aspects within the GCC region. The programme will connect to aspects such as drinking water technology, wastewater treatment technologies, water technology related to agri-food-energy, water technology for industrial water treatment.

Following elements will be included in the programme:

Water challenges & opportunities in the Gulf region

The Gulf region is among the most water-stressed areas in the world. At the same time, it is also one of the highest water-consuming areas. The agricultural sector is by far the largest consumer of water in the Gulf region, accounting for around 85% of fresh water, nearly all of which comes from nonrenewable underground sources. As with other countries in the region, water scarcity limits the UAE’s domestic food production. Consequently, the UAE must import most of its food products. Nonetheless, the ambition to pursue further domestic production remains. In light of the UAE’s ambition to ensure its food security and its need for potable water, this creates many challenges and opportunities for cooperation in the water, energy and food sectors.

Opportunities with global partners

The world needs to find new solutions for global water challenges and these solutions need to be practical, efficient, sustainable and cost-effective. Much is under development globally and the Expo 2020 Dubai offers an excellent opportunity to connect to global partners and stakeholders. The Sustainability Week is an excellent opportunity for a global exchange and The Netherlands programme on water technology will link to the various stakeholders worldwide and co-create a challenging programme during this week.

Trilateral Summit

In collaboration with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, the Netherlands organizes a trilateral summit on the connection between water, energy and food. The focus of the summit is on policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and representatives of a range of businesses will be in attendance. The water-energy-food nexus is linked to several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and forms the basis for achieving them. The aim of this summit is to create policy proposals, so that challenges such as climate adaptation and water, energy and food scarcity can be tackled.

In addition, The Netherlands will also connect to the Water Week in March 2022, and we will use other global events leading up to the Expo 2020 Dubai to prepare.

Water Programme

Programme Information Package

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