Jakarta. France aims to address the challenges of the future by reconnecting with the country’s tradition of hosting impactful international events promoting innovation through its bid to host the 2025 World Expo, a French official said on Wednesday (03/01).
For its candidacy, France adopted the theme "Sharing Our Knowledge, Caring For Our Planet," which focuses on youth and the future, and urges participants to share visions, innovations and solutions to resolve issues facing the planet.
"We are really embracing environmental sustainability as the main universal theme, linking it to the tradition of progress and science," former director-general of the World Trade Organization and interministerial delegate in charge of the French candidacy, Pascal Lamy, said during his visit to Jakarta.
Lamy is visiting Jakarta to promote France's bid for the 2025 World Expo.
He added that his country is safe and ready to host the large-scale international event, which will take place during six months and is expected to draw 40 million visitors, half of them from abroad.
"The expo [will be held] in one place, and we’ve chosen this place because it’s a relatively easy place to secure, so we have the necessary credentials and the necessary elements in our bid," Lamy told reporters.
The 2025 World Expo in France will be located on Paris-Saclay, an innovative cluster in the south of Paris and home to various research facilities and universities.
France’s readiness to secure the location for the 2025 World Expo is also supported by the fact that it will have previously hosted the Summer Olympics in 2024 by then, which according to Lamy is "much more complex and difficult to secure" because the multi-sport event will take place at 16 different locations across the country.
The Western European country has hosted various major international events in recent years, including the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) and the 2016 UEFA European Championship.
The World Expos have been held for more than 160 years and are considered strongly influential venues that promote education, innovation and cooperation.
France previously hosted the World Expo in 1855, 1867, 1878, 1889 and 1900. For 2025, it is envisioning a unique experience of a global village that features national pavilions, gardens and public spaces, as well as the Globe.
The Globe is a reproduction of planet Earth scaled to 1:75,000, which is expected to raise awareness on the importance of environmental preservation, with different participating countries represented every day.
France is up against three other candidates – Osaka (Japan), Yekaterinburg (Russia) and Baku (Azerbaijan). The final decision will be made by 170 member countries of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) at the organization’s next general assembly meeting in November.
Lamy said that there are many factors that make France the ideal location for the 2025 World Expo, including the innovative economic model it is employing to organize the event.
The project has an overall budget of €3.5 billion ($4.2 billion), which will be privately funded.
"It’s not a public operation, not a public-private partnership – it’s a private-public partnership. Our view from the beginning is that this does not consume any taxpayer money," Lamy said, adding that this is a better and more sustainable option.
Furthermore, France plans to reuse the Global Village and turn it into a world campus after the World Expo ends, which will also allow participating countries to convert their pavilions and remain at the location as a space for knowledge exchange among relevant actors, such as businesses and students.
In line with its theme of future and sustainability, France also seeks to catalyze efforts that focus on the mitigation and adaptation to environmental degradation. It envisions the 2025 World Expo as a space for healthy competition among international participants to realize projects that will respond to unique environmental challenges.
"It’s a sort of energizer, [or] accelerator, of getting a number of environmental issues right," Lamy said.
For example, countries like Indonesia may develop their existing projects on various land and water challenges and bring it to the Expo to share with the rest of the world.
As part of its strategy to win the candidacy, France also took under its wing 100 young people from 70 countries.
According to Lamy, France’s theme was derived from consultations with youth, particularly millennials, and they will continue to be consulted if France is selected as host of the 2025 World Expo, as "they are stakeholders of this generation."
"At the end of the day, we know we have serious competitors. But we believe that mobilizing notably young generations on this theme of looking at the future is one of the reasons we believe we could win," Lamy said.