A first look at Expo 2020 Dubai

Updated 12:13 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021
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12:09 p.m. ET, October 1, 2021

That's a wrap on Expo Day 1!

The first day of Expo 2020 Dubai is drawing to a close, and so is our coverage here. Stay with CNN as we continue to cover this event for the next six months -- from inspiring tech innovations to crucial conversations on the most important issues of our time.

Maheshpreet Narula/CNN
Maheshpreet Narula/CNN

To read more about the road to Expo 2020 Dubai click here

If you want to discover what Expos have given to the world, read our history of World Expos in 40 objects

11:59 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Meet the woman behind Expo 2020

Reem Al Hashimy, Expo 2020 Dubai's director general, tells Becky Anderson about what it means to host the Middle East's first ever Expo.

11:46 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Putting youth at the forefront

United Nations deputy secretary-general Amina Mohammed tells CNN that the energy of young people can help drive forward the goals and themes of Expo 2020.

11:40 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Inside Japan's high-tech pavilion

CNN's Scott McLean takes us inside Japan's pavilion, which features some impressively futuristic tech.

Visitors watch an animated wall inside the Japanese pavilion.
Visitors watch an animated wall inside the Japanese pavilion. Giuseppe Cacace AFP/AFP via Getty Images

11:15 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

On the wings of falcons at the UAE pavilion

Maheshpreet Narula, Dubai

Celebrating a falcon in flight and designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the UAE pavilion is in the Opportunity district near Al Wasl plaza at the heart of the Expo site.

Maheshpreet Narula/CNN
Maheshpreet Narula/CNN

The metal "wings" of the four-story building evoke the country's national bird. The roof of the pavilion can also be opened within three minutes.

Maheshpreet Narula/CNN
Maheshpreet Narula/CNN

Outside the pavilion, we met Emirati-Omani Fahad Badi, who has been working with falcons since he was 11. Here he is with a saker falcon, one of three species that fly in the UAE. Hooded to keep the falcon calm, this three-year old bird was bred not captured.

Maheshpreet Narula/CNN
Maheshpreet Narula/CNN

10:55 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

How to make an Expo

It's taken eight years and $7 billion to build, on a 4.38 square-kilometer (1.7 square-mile) site -- CNN's Scott McLean looks at how this Expo came to be.

10:24 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

The river that is also a person: New Zealand's groundbreaking legal declaration finds center stage at Expo

Maheshpreet Narula/CNN
Maheshpreet Narula/CNN

In 2017 the Whanganui River on New Zealand's north island was recognized as a legal person. The river is sacred in Māori culture and considered an ancestor, but had been exploited and degraded for decades. The ruling (called Te Awa Tupua) protected the river from rampant pollution, but was also the embodiment in law of indigenous values and the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

The New Zealand pavilion explores how humanity can recalibrate its relationship with nature for mutual benefit.

Maheshpreet Narula/CNN
Maheshpreet Narula/CNN

Read more about the ground-breaking ruling here

10:06 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Qatar makes a song and dance at Expo 2020

Eoin McSweeney, Dubai

At the Qatar pavilion a welcome party greets visitors.

This is a traditional Qatari dance specially for men, performed at marriage ceremonies or other significant events. The singer says the first line of a poem which is responded to by the other singers. The wide drums are percussion instruments called daf.

9:52 a.m. ET, October 1, 2021

Spain's solar chimneys

The Spanish pavilion, designed by Madrid-based amann-canovas-maruri, is in the Sustainability district and consists of a number of conical tents, which take the form of “solar chimneys,” according to the architects.

Solar chimneys use the heat of the sun on the side of a structure to draw hot air out of the top of a building, while allowing cool air in at the bottom -- a natural ventilation method that has been around for centuries. The idea is to reduce energy consumption without the need for extensive technology.

Eoin McSweeney/CNN
Eoin McSweeney/CNN

Inside is the "Dynamo," an art piece designed by Daniel Canogar. The noise you hear is a combination of different natural sounds fused together by Francisco Lopez. It's an interactive piece and each viewer can change its color by touching the wall in front of them. Its meaning is open to interpretation but it’s meant to represent how everyone's energy can affect the future.