posted on 16/11/2007: 1047 views
The United Arab Emirates is one of the fastest growing countries in the world with one of the highest standards of living. And yet there are many people living there who remember a life of shortages and deprivation, a time when the normal requirements of daily living could not be taken for granted. The change in their lives over the past three or four decades has been, without exaggeration, quite extraordinary.
The secret behind this remarkable story lies in the fact that the UAE benefited from a strong and stable government led by the legendary Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who ensured that the money from oil was spent on building better lives for the country's people. His lifelong mission, to create better living conditions for everyone in the Emirates, is fittingly reflected in the EXPO 2010 theme - 'Better Cities, Better Lives' - and today's Emirates are a living testimony to the successful implementation of Sheikh Zayed's dream.
The UAE's President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and its Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum are now leading a renewed effort to ensure that the cities of tomorrow meet the special challenges of our changing world. A key element of this programme focuses on energy, both from producer and consumer viewpoints. Whilst the UAE is in the top half dozen countries worldwide, in terms of its oil and natural gas resources, its vision extends far beyond these non-renewable resources. Today the country is making major strides towards becoming a global energy hub, breaking new ground in optimisation of alternative energy resources, leading the way towards a sustainable future. Whilst the UAE's oil is set to last at least a hundred years, when the oil rigs do eventually stop running it is likely that the Emirates will be exporting other forms of energy and its people will be living in even better urban environments than they enjoy today.
The UAE Pavilion at EXPO 2010 will tell this fascinating story in a unique way. Not forgetting its past, learning from the experiences of its people who developed special solutions to deal with difficult challenges such as delivering freshwater to desert settlements or cooling houses without electricity or other forms of energy, the UAE project promises to show how all that is good about the nation's culture has been preserved and is being incorporated into designs for 'cities of the future'.
Speaking at the signing ceremony for the UAE's participation in EXPO 2010, the Commissioner General for the UAE Pavilion, Mr Ibrahim Al Abed, said that the UAE was particularly proud to be associated with the Shanghai based EXPO since it offered a unique opportunity for the two countries to get to know each other better and to explore areas for future cooperation.
He also stated that the United Arab Emirates is extremely fortunate to have enjoyed many years of devoted leadership that has been focused on creating an economic and social renaissance. "Anyone who visits our country today is amazed at how much has been achieved in such a short period," he commented. "This has not happened by accident, but through smart planning and a huge amount of hard work. We look forward to participating in a hugely successful EXPO 2010", he added, "one that both China and the United Arab Emirates will look back upon as a significant step towards creating better lives for all people, throughout our planet."
Note: The United Arab Emirates Pavilion at EXPO 2010 will be on one of the exhibition's largest sites, measuring 6000 sq metres. The architectural team Lord Foster's architectural practice, Foster and Partners is working on design of the pavilion.
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