The event is set to run between 2 October until 28 March 2024.
The highly-anticipated International Horticultural Expo 2023 Doha officially launched on Monday at the all-green Al Bidda Park, redirecting global attention back to mega-event host Qatar.
The event’s inauguration ceremony took place with the attendance of Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as well as a number of world leaders and top diplomats from across the world.
The event started with an inaugural speech by Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who welcomed all attendees at Al Bidda Park.
“Today, Qatar is honoured yet again to host a global event in line with Qatar’s commitments towards sustainable development, domestically and internationally, and constitutes a qualitative addition to the various initiatives adopted by Qatar to ensure a safer and more stable future for the people of earth,” Sheikh Mohammed said.
The Qatari official added that he hopes the global event serves as a wake up call to the environment’s needs, especially amid natural crises and catastrophes.
“In times where mankind is affected by unfortunate disasters and catastrophes resulting from our disrespect for our planet and the irresponsible exploitation of natural resources, we seek through this global exhibition serious initiatives and partnerships that restore hope for us and future generations,” the Qatari official said.
While the event has officially started, it is scheduled to open for the general public the following day, 3 October, per statements made earlier by Expo 2023’s Secretary-General Mohammed Ali Al Khouri.
Some of the high-level attendees at the opening ceremony included the United Arab Emirates President Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al Sudani, Uzbekistan’s President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Yemen’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh among many others.
The mega international horticulture event, the biggest of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa, is held under the theme “Green Desert, Better Environment”. The horticulture Expo is also the first to ever take place in an area with a dry climate.
In 2018, the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) officially approved Qatar’s hosting of the Expo in 2021 before it was postponed until 2023 amid the Covid-19 spread.
Now running until 28 March 2024, the event is gathering at least 80 countries from across the globe in single space to exchange expertise on effectively combating desertification, a phenomenon that is posing a major threat to the planet and communities globally.
A ‘catalyst’ for environmental development
The event aims to draw in more than three million visitors while providing attendees the opportunity to explore different cultures by visiting a diverse set of pavilions from each participating country.
Expo 2023 Doha is also expected to bring the small Gulf state back under the international spotlight as the host of major events, following the success of the 2022 FIFA World Cup—the first to ever take place in an Arab and Muslim nation.
“Just as [Qatar] dazzled the world in organising the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, it will also dazzle the world at Expo 2023 Doha,” the Gulf state’s news agency (QNA) reported, citing Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, Minister of Municipality and Chairman of the national committee for hosting Expo 2023 Doha for Horticulture.
The Qatari minister further noted that the Gulf state aims to promote the concept of green cities in the wider Middle East region, making Expo “a catalyst for international investments and the launch of initiatives concerned with developing useful environmental solutions”.
Visitors at Expo will be given the opportunity to walk through multiple gardens, attend informative talks and conferences and indulge in international cuisines. The building has six different parking lots with the capacity of 4,428 cars in addition to an external parking lot.
The exhibition is broken into three main areas, including the cultural area, the family area, and the international area—all of which will provide entertaining performances and activities for all visitors.
Other facilities include a cultural bazaar, a farmers market, and the Environment Center and Biodiversity Museum that will be displaying environmental science, renewable energy demonstrations and technologies.
A range of events are taking place throughout October, including cultural workshops, a Turkish performance, eco workshops, and a celebration of Burundi’s national day.