(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Preparations are in full swing in Dubai for the Dubai Expo 2020. When the UAE pins hopes on the mega event, the international community is also upbeat about the Expo 2020 as countries like Netherlands finds it different from the other Expos. The much appreciated Dutch Triple Helix Approach will be their USP at the Expo 2020.
During a recently concluded UAE Press Visit to Netherlands, it was highlighted that the Dubai Expo 2020 is more like a B2B affair and not just an exhibition as many would think.
Frank J.M. Mollen, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to the UAE, talks about why the world needs the Triple Helix Approach and how it will be highlighted in the Dubai Expo 2020.
Do you think the Dutch approach - partnership of government, private organisations and knowledge institutes - is the need of the hour for sustainable solutions? If so, why?
Natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce, influences of climate change are more visible, and a world population of 7.6 billion is demanding ever more food, water and energy.
Water, energy and food are interlinked in an intrinsic way and the stress on these resources requires an integrated approach in order to find sustainable solutions. We all have to play a responsible role in this respect, for the sake of future generations.
The Netherlands is the 2nd agriculture export country worldwide and without dams and dikes, more than half of our country would be under water all or part of the time. The need for action and innovation made the Netherlands stand out globally in sectors such as water and agro-food.
Our choice for the nexus water-energy-food as the theme of the Dutch Expo2020 participation is a logical one. The Netherlands started to bring public, private and knowledge partners together in finding solutions following this integrated approach.
Our entrepreneurs and knowledge institutions know how to turn good ideas into successful services and products. For its part, the government must create the right conditions in order to increase the pace of innovation and generate beneficial outcomes for society as a whole. This involves intensive - and increasingly self-evident - cooperation between entrepreneurs, researchers and public authorities, in what is known as the Triple Helix approach.
How will this be projected in the Dubai Expo? / What are the top Dutch innovations and solutions the world can see in the Expo 2020?
The theme of the Dutch participation in Expo202 is the water, energy and food nexus. At the moment, we are translating this theme into an appealing communication concept. In this process, we are working closely together with Dutch companies and knowledge institutes, whose knowledge and innovations will be displayed in the Dutch pavilion. It is too early to say at this stage what these innovations and solutions will be, as this is work in progress.
How important is Expo 2020 for Netherlands?
The Netherlands sees Expo2020 as an important tool to strengthen our relationship with our Emirati friends and other partners worldwide and to work with these partners to find solutions for the problems of today and tomorrow. I believe that the challenges of today, regional, and worldwide, demand more collaboration in order to implement sustainable solutions. Let us join forces and make the next necessary steps in the period towards and during the Expo.
In which areas the UAE and Netherlands will work together to strengthen their ties?
Relations between the Netherlands and the UAE are historically strong and are supported by the continued cooperation between the two countries.
Companies like Royal Dutch Shell and Friesland Campina (the Rainbow brand) have been present in Abu Dhabi for 60 years or more, long before we established formal relations in 1972. The UAE ranks as one of the 25 most important export markets for the Netherlands and is one of the most important trading partner in the Middle East and North Africa region.
Due to the many opportunities in a variety of sectors, Dutch companies are attracted to the UAE and currently an estimated 250 Dutch companies are based in the UAE. Multinationals such as Shell, Unilever, BAM, Philips, AkzoNobel, FrieslandCampina, Van Oord, Boskalis, Vopak, Royal Haskoning DHV, ING and ABN AMRO have investments in the UAE. The Netherlands seeks to maintain and grow the good relationship with the UAE.
Exactly a year ago, UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri and the former Dutch Minister of Economy, Henk Kamp, signed a MoU on Innovation Cooperation during the visit of Al Mansoori to the Netherlands. The MoU defines cooperation on 5 identified themes: energy, nexus water-food-energy, aerospace & aviation, life sciences & health and smart cities.