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Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, on Monday attended the Maldives national day celebrations at Expo 2020 Dubai.
He spoke alongside Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, and the leaders emphasised the role of Expo 2020 Dubai as a platform for countries to work collectively to tackle global challenges.
Sheikh Nahyan, who is also Commissioner General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said the world's fair gave nations a chance to capitalise on shared ambitions, and to “engage in dialogue and collaborate towards the making of a new world for us and the future generations to come”.
“The UAE has established itself as a bridge to connect with more than 192 nations and the Expo is a testament to this,” he said, addressing a gathering at Al Wasl Plaza.
“The key is to collectively overcome global challenges and achieve sustainable growth. This is a timely opportunity to work together, to build a sustainable future for everyone.”
Mr Solih said there was need to expand efforts so that the world emerges resilient from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We must aim to unleash the full potential of the Expo,” he said.
“Let actions speak louder than words at this global gathering to address the pervasive problems of our time.
"From food insecurity to extreme hunger, pollution to habitat loss, cyberterrorism to financial shocks, we need to ramp up our ambitions and pool our resources to lift each other up, as we work towards a greener, resilient and sustainable future in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
The risk of rising seas
The Maldives is heavily dependent on tourism and fishing, and needs investment to help broaden its economy.
The president said Expo 2020 would play a crucial role in creating lasting partnerships as policymakers, industry experts, academics and civil society were brought together under one roof.
He anticipated innovative solutions would emerge from the Expo, which is “being held as the world is returning to normal life from the havoc wreaked by the worst pandemic in living memory”.
“That the UAE leadership has brought together over 192 countries for this Expo, despite many hurdles, is impressive and testament to their foresight and leadership,” Mr Solih said.
The Maldives pavilion was unveiled in a colourful ceremony with dances and performances centred around the dhoni, or traditional wooden boat, used for fishing, transport and trade.
Describing the UAE as a significant development partner and close friend of the Maldives, Mr Solih said the country aimed to strengthen partnerships with UAE and other nations in the GCC and MENA region.
The Emirates has regularly provided assistance to the island nation, most recently contributing 72 tonnes of crucial medical supplies to help more than 70,000 health workers in the fight against Covid-19.