Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai — Exploring energy potential – Gulf Today

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People visit Pakistan Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Sajjad Ahmad, Deputy Business Editor
The Punjab Energy Department, in collaboration with the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade hosted a seminar on the energy potential of Punjab at the Pakistan Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai. The seminar was attended by Dr Muhammad Akhtar Malik, Minister of Energy Punjab and honourable guests from the UAE.

The event was also attended by Sania Awais, Managing Director of the Punjab Power Development Board, Adnan Mudassir, CEOs of the Punjab Power Development Company Ltd., Badar Ul Munir, CEO of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, Abdul Rehman, CEO of the Punjab Energy Efficiency Conservation Agency and Dr Erfa Iqbal, CEO of Punjab Board of Investment and Trade.  

The seminar presented a ground-breaking achievement for the Energy Department of Punjab as an MoU was signed between the Government of Punjab and Huawei.

The minister talked on the limitless energy potential of Punjab, highlighting some of the impressive work being done in the province with regards to solar energy, biogas, hydropower, and wind energy. The Minister stated that 600 primary schools had been solarised, along with a number of hospitals and jails, and concluded by saying that “This is only the first step in what promises to be a very bright future for the energy sector of Punjab. We are extremely optimistic that the work we are showcasing here will attract lots of interest from foreign and local investors and also create job opportunities for our people back home. We also want to work in collaboration with the UAE Government on energy related projects both here and back in Pakistan. We hope that the Expo 2020 Dubai will help us achieve exactly that.”
Mahira-Ahad-Expo Pakistani stars Mahira Khan and Ahed Raza during their visit to Expo 2020.

Dr Sani gave a detailed overview of the numerous projects being undertaken by the Government of Punjab, in collaboration with the Federal Government. Many of these promising initiatives are already underway. Some of these include the QA Thermal Project, the Energy Center of Excellence, and Solar Training and MSc Engineering courses. The event concluded with the signing of the MOU between the Punjab Government and Huawei that will open doors for foreign investments in Punjab.

Rajasthan attracts INR 40,000 crore investments

In a separate development, the Rajasthan week at the India Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai ends on Thursday. With 18 Letter of Intents (LoI) and 24 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) involving investment of around INR 40,000 crore, the state signs off in style from the World Expo, Dubai. These investments are proposed in various sectors such as tourism, logistics, petroleum, agri & food processing, e-waste recycling & energy, IT, real estate etc.

The week witnessed series of one-to-one meetings, roundtables, business and media interactions and cultural programmes.

The delegation was led by three Ministers, Shanti Kumar Dhariwal, Minister for Urban Development & Housing: Parsadi Lal Meena, Minister for Industry and  Arjun Singh Bamaniya, Minister of State for Industry, Government of Rajasthan. It also included Ms Rukmani Riar Sihag, Executive Director, Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation Limited (RIICO) & Additional Commissioner, Bureau of Investment Promotion (BIP), Rajasthan; Mr Dhiraj Srivastava, Commissioner, Rajasthan Foundation; Rajiv Arora, President, FORE along with other officers from RIICO, Industries, BIP and Tourism. State government has framed its investor friendly policies like RIPS-2019 and MSME Act to make investors in Dubai aware about the possibilities in Rajasthan for businesses to grow, thrive and succeed. State government has launched one stop shop to ensure ease of doing business

Sustainable world:The stage is set for the world to showcase its creativity at Expo 2020 Dubai and the Austrian pavilion made sure to seize this opportunity. Standing out as an oasis of calm and relaxation in the general hustle and bustle of the event, the markedly different architecture of Austria’s building has won 3 prestigious awards for its contribution to Expo 2020’s vision of organizing one of the most sustainable world expos of all time.

These include the first prize in the sustainable architecture category at the Global Architecture & Design Awards 2021, the Jury’s Favorite in Architectural Design – Sustainable & Energy Saving at the Built Design Awards 2021, and the top sustainability honor at the German Design Awards 2022.

“Austria has a long history of sustainable living through responsible utilisation of available resources. These awards are a testament to the efforts that every individual has put into creating this captivating pavilion which represents what a resource-efficient, climate-neutral, environment-friendly future may look like. We hope that through this far-reaching platform of Expo 2020 Dubai, the world can see and experience the very best that Austria has to offer,” said Commissioner General of the Austrian pavilion Beatrix Karl.

Operating under the theme of ‘Austria Makes Sense’ and staying true to Expo 2020’s mission of creating a sustainable future for everyone, the central European nation has come up with arguably the most distinct structure. The entire building – which pays homage to the Arab architectural tradition of using cones inspired by wind towers – requires 70% less energy than any conventionally air-conditioned facility in weather conditions similar to those in the UAE.

Combining the best of technology and ecology, the Austrian pavilion has only partnered with companies that have a spectacular vision for a better future, sending a strong message of support for climate protection and sustainable development. A case in point is the iLab, which is a vibrant space known for its innovative practices and out-of-the-box ideas. Located in the opportunity sector, the Austrian pavilion enables visitors to immerse themselves directly into the countless possibilities that are related to and go beyond sustainable living.

The cooling concept is a page out of the Arab architectural book where wind catching towers, or cones, allow reduced electricity consumption to cool the entire space. This makes for quite a pleasant environment throughout the pavilion even during hot weather.

The entire structure has been prepared using prefabricated parts with the aim of using as few resources as possible.

‘Insights into Inclusion’ : GE hosted a thought leadership event titled ‘Insights into Inclusion’ at Expo 2020 Dubai. Aligned to the Expo’s Tolerance and Inclusivity theme week, the event brought together over 50 leaders and diversity experts from global and local companies to discuss how organizations can foster a diverse workplace for the next generation. Delivering the opening remarks, Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna, President – GE UAE, and Global Chief of Strategy & Operations, GE International Markets said: “We are a global company, but we operate locally, think locally, and engage locally. The themes of tolerance, diversity, and inclusion are familiar to UAE citizens and residents, and they are critical to GE as well. We believe in fostering an inclusive culture and seek to empower our people so they feel accepted, respected and belong. We know that embracing diverse teams and perspectives better equips us to serve our customers and communities, and ultimately contributes to our ambition to build a world that works.”

Following this, a moderated discussion with John Slattery, CEO of GE Aviation, and Tanya Spencer, Chief Diversity Officer of GE Gas Power was held, where they shared their views on what diversity means to them and their businesses. The session was moderated by GE Renewable Energy’s Suraya Watfa, a young leader in GE’s I&D efforts, who brought a Gen Z perspective to the discussion. They offered insights into why diversity and inclusion are such important engines of success for their businesses, and how the next generation will be the drivers of innovation for the organization.

After hearing from the leaders, in a truly collaborative discussion, the event engaged all attendees by dividing them five groups, each assigned to a specific aspect of diversity and inclusion. Together, leaders from PWC, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Accenture, Womanity, IBM, the US Department of State and others explored the themes, with the goal of helping organizations cultivate a more inclusive environment.

Language and Communication: Awareness around language is critical to the success of inclusion, both at an individual and organization level. Actions included training, and making sure contracts, job descriptions, and other company language is neutral. The need for consciousness at all levels, and not only at a leadership level, was stressed.

Empowerment and Advocacy: For inclusion to become the norm, participants suggested the need for policy and procedural changes. In addition, employees must own diversity and inclusion and lead by example to give a voice to people and celebrate each other’s differences. This means not only listening to other opinions but implementing them into business decisions. Another important takeaway was the need to eliminate assumptions.

Building Cultural Connections: To foster a diverse and inclusive workplace, companies can create Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to bring people with shared characteristics or interests together, with an aim of educating the wider organization on specific topics such as gender, ethnicity, neurodiversity and access, age, religious and cultural affiliations and more. To bridge cultures, it is important to create awareness across cultures and behaviors.

Unconscious Bias: Bias exists across organizations in numerous forms, which can be detrimental to the mental health and wellbeing of employees, and their career progression. From developing effective talent and retention frameworks to providing unconscious bias training, it is crucial to become more aware of how business is conducted. Actions include ensuring diverse slates of candidates and interviewers are present while hiring, geographic distribution of leadership roles, and the understand that there are many ways of “doing business.”

The UAE has long held the distinction of being Pakistan’s largest trading partner in the Middle East. In fact, Pakistan’s relations with the UAE are robust and marching ahead.
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