By Saifur Rahman
Finland, which is the world’s first country to develop a masterplan for sustainable zero-waste circular economy, will showcase the country’s expertise in this field at the World Expo 2020 that takes place in Dubai from October, 2020 till April 2021.
A circular economy is an economic system that is aimed at eliminating waste and creates a carbo-neutral environment by the continual use of resources. Circular systems employ reuse, sharing, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling to create a close-loop system, minimising the use of resource inputs and the creation of waste, pollution and carbon emissions.
Marianne Nissila, Ambassador of Finland to the UAE, said her country developed the prototype masterplan for the Circular Economy three years ago.
“We are now in a comfortable position to share our knowhow in this area with the rest of the world and Expo 2020 is a perfect platform for us to showcase our expertise and share them with other countries,” Marianne Nissila told the Arabian Post in a recent interview.
“Somebody’s waste is someone else’s raw material. Finland has implemented circular economy in all sectors of our economy – including healthcare sector – which will dominate as a key sector of our participation at the Expo 2020.
“More than 70,000 students in Finland study Circular Economy. Every year, we are producing experts and change agents in Circular Economy for ourselves and for other countries.”
The circular economy aims to keep products, equipment and infrastructure in use for longer, thus improving the productivity of these resources. All ‘waste’ should become ‘food’ for another process: either a by-product or recovered resource for another industrial process, or as regenerative resources for nature, e.g. compost. This regenerative approach is in contrast to the traditional linear economy, which has a ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production.
Nissila said, her country enjoys a very warm relationship with the UAE. Bilateral trade between Finland and the UAE remains healthy at 608 million euro (Dh2.49 billion) in 2018.
“Of this, Finnish exports to the UAE amounted 371 million euro and UAE’s exports to Finland reached 237 euro in 2018. This is a healthy trade exchange. However, this could go up and we are currently exploring more cooperation with the UAE in different sectors. We have recently conducted a number of visits by Finnish companies to the UAE to explore business opportunities and we hope these will result in a number of new deals and strengthen our economic relations with the UAE,” she said.
Finland is a Nordic country bordering Sweden, Russia and Norway. It has a population of 5.52 million, more than 25 percent of which lives in Helsinki – the capital city of the country. The country’s gross domestic product (GDP) reached US$257 billion with per capital GDP crossing US$46,559 in 2018.
Finnair, the country’s flag carrier and Fly Dubai offers direct flights between Dubai and Helsinki.
“In recent times, we have witnessed a 484 percent jump in the number of tourists from the UAE and this is growing. So, Finland is attracting more visitors from the UAE,” Nissila said.
“Also, we are witnessing a greater number of Finnish nationals travelling to the UAE as well. Once Emirates starts operating direct flights, the number of visitors will jump further. We are talking to Emirates Airline to start direct flights to Helsinki.”
Finland, officially the happiest country in the world, has already started construction of its national pavilion at the Expo 2020 site. Around 110 Finnish companies will participate at the Finnish Pavilion. The country’s participation is being handled by Business Finland – the trade and investment promotion arm of the Finland Government.
The Finnish pavilion has a budget of 10 million Euro, 50 percent of which will come from private sector companies who will sponsor the pavilion, said Severi Keinala, Commissioner General of Finland at Dubai Expo 2020 – the person-in-charge of organising the Finnish Pavilion at the Expo 2020.
“The pavilion has been designed in the form of an ice-scape that looks like a tent and has a Arabian-style majlis – to welcome visitors. So, while the exterior reflects ice and the very Finnish culture, it also reflects the Arabic culture when you enter the pavilion – shows our appreciation and respect to the local Arabic heritage and culture.
“Ours is one of the first pavilions to have started construction and it will be one of the first to be completed. It will showcase the essence of Finland and the future of Finland.”
Also published on Medium.