Sweden to participate in Expo 2020 in Dubai


In October 2020, Dubai will host the World Expo. The theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ and the ambitions of the organiser are great, with innovation and sustainability as important catchwords.
“The Swedish pavilion will be informed by a sustainability perspective. The exhibition committee will also bear in mind the Government’s policy for corporate social responsibility and human rights, and the work on the 2030 Agenda,” says Anders Lönnberg, Commissioner General for Sweden’s participation.

Secretariat for World Expo 2020 Dubai. From the left: Felix Nyström, Monica Engström, Eric Vänerlöf, Nina Ekstrand and Anders Lönnberg. Photo: Taimi Köster/Government Offices

Sweden’s participation in Expo 2020 was commissioned by Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde and it will be the Government’s single largest export and investment promotion initiative.

“World Expo 2020 Dubai will be an important arena for the promotion of Sweden and Swedish companies, with visitors from all over the world. The Government would welcome increased trade with this region. We believe that trade and relationship-building also create conditions for deeper dialogue on corporate social responsibility and human rights,” says Ms Linde. Sweden’s participation in Expo 2020 aims to strengthen a multifaceted and positive image of Sweden abroad, promote Sweden as a knowledge nation and the business sector’s competitiveness and creativity, and strengthen Sweden’s attractiveness for tourism and investment, including research, innovation and cultural exchange.

“The most important thing right now is to reach an agreement with Swedish companies to secure financing of the planned budget of SEK 165 million, where the Government, with government agencies and state-supported actors, is responsible for half of the costs,” says Mr Lönnberg.

The Swedish pavilion will be built sustainably

An architectural competition has been announced for the design of the Swedish pavilion at Expo 2020. It is to be approximately 3 000 square metres covering three stories, which is about the same size as the Swedish Pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

“The plan is to choose a winner at the end of 2018. We want the pavilion to be made of wood and it is very important that it is built in a sustainable way with CSR standards in focus,” says Mr Lönnberg.

Activities programme begins in the autumn

During the autumn, planning will begin for a programme involving 173 days of activities such as seminars and cultural events. By comparison, 450 programme points were carried out when Sweden took part in World Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

Experienced committee responsible for implementation

The decision to participate in Expo 2020 was taken by the Government in December 2017. At the same time, a committee was appointed to lead the work. It is chaired by Anders Flanking, County Director of Kronoberg County and previous State Secretary in the Ministry of the Environment and Energy. The vice chair is Catharina Elmsäter-Svärd (Swedish Construction Federation) and the members are Aurore Belfrage (EQT Ventures), Gabriella Augustsson (UD FH), Jennie Nilsson (Member of the Riksdag), Leif Johansson (Astra Zeneca and Ericsson), Magnus Schöldtz (Wallenberg Foundations) and Marie Nilsson (IF Metall).

The Government appointed Anders Lönnberg as Commissioner General, and Nina Ekstrand, who has long experience of working on previous world expos. An operational secretariat is attached to the Committee, where preparations are well under way under the leadership of Mr Lönnberg.

The Swedish Institute, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, Vinnova (Sweden’s Innovation Agency) and the state-supported organisations Business Sweden and Visit Sweden are participating in the work.

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Published on 28 May 2018