Riyadh, the vibrant capital of Saudi Arabia, could soon become the host of the 2030 World Expo.
With the decision now resting in the hands of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE), Saudi Arabia, along with Italy's Rome and Busan in the Republic of Korea, presented its innovative plans and aspirations at a recent event in Paris.
The Era of Change
Spearheading Saudi Arabia's bid is the theme "The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow." The kingdom is envisioning a large-scale event, welcoming more than forty million visits from around the globe over a six-month period beginning in October 2030.
H.E. Adel Al Jubeir, Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Envoy for Climate, spoke about the significance of the Expo. He said, "Our desire to host it in Saudi Arabia in 2030 lines with the target date for the implementation of our Vision 2030. It's an important year for us. We want the world to see Saudi Arabia and we want Saudi Arabia to see the world. We are devoting tremendous resources to it."
At the heart of the Saudi bid is a comprehensive masterplan, featuring a global-themed site located north of Riyadh city, near the airport. Lamia AlMuhanna, Director of Landscape Architecture at The Royal Commission for Riyadh City, said each participating country would have its own pavilion, with Saudi Arabia sponsoring some of them.
"We're committed to 'one nation, one pavilion'. Visitors will be able to experience narrow shaded streets that are inspired by the capital's heritage and enjoy Wadi al-Sula, which is a natural oasis in the park. Preserving our nature and embracing Riyadh's commitment to sustainability," AlMuhanna shared.
The expo district will house a futuristic monument designed to be emblemic of the Expo. Nouf Majed Almoneef, Senior Director of Creative Arts at The Royal Commission for Riyadh City, explains, "If the surface of the earth was divided among all human beings, each one of us would be responsible for 238 square meters. And our landmark is exactly that size. It's located in the center and at the heart of the expo, and its 195 pillars will highlight the equality of nations."
The vision for Riyadh Expo 2030 is aligned with the city's ambition to become a global hub for finance, entertainment, and sustainable development. Mazen Tammar, General Director of the Riyadh Expo 2030 Candidacy Bid, emphasized the synergy between the city's ambitions and the World Expo's transformative potential.
"We believe there's a perfect synergy between a World Expo and the ambitions we have for Riyadh, making it the most ideal city to host this global event," Tammar expressed.
With its economy transitioning from reliance on oil, Saudi Arabia's goal is to host the first-ever carbon-negative World Expo, a commitment resonating with their Vision 2030. H.H. Princess Haifa Al Mogrin, the Permanent delegate of Saudi Arabia to Unesco, highlighted Saudi Arabia's commitment, saying, "How can Saudi Arabia exercise its international responsibility towards the world? How can we share these experiences and how can we build a platform for the rest of the world to share experiences and learn from each other? Hence comes the idea of having Expo 2030 in Riyadh."
With the vote for the host city taking place in November, the world waits to see where the 2030 World Expo will be held. Whether Riyadh, Rome, or Busan, the event promises to be a global celebration of innovation, unity, and foresight.