International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 seeks at enhancing public awareness of the challenges of environmental changes and technology for meeting those challenges.
Mumbai 4 April 2012: On November 26, 2007, Korea won its bid to host the 2012 World Expo in its southern coastal city of Yeosu. This year, under the theme “Living Ocean and Coast,” 106 countries and nine international organizations will showcase their diverse marine development and advancement of oceanic technology on the southern shore of the Korean Peninsula from 12th May to 12th August 2012.
Yeosu, a port city about 455 kilometers south of Seoul will play host to the 93-day event, the first here since the 1993 Daejeon Expo and is expected to lure around 8 million visitors around the world. At this Expo, countries will pledge and enhance their cooperation to protect the ocean for the future survival of the world.
The Exposition will be an opportunity for the international community to clearly understand the role of the ocean, coast and the challenge facing humanity caused by the reckless development of the ocean and coast. Countries participating will share knowledge on the proper use of the ocean and recognize the need for cooperation in the marine sector.Yeosu Expo’s theme, “The Living Ocean and Coast,” is divided into three sub-themes: Coastal Development and Preservation, New Resources Technology and Creative Maritime Activities. These sub-themes have been further developed into six thematic groups, namely, Climate & Environment, Marine Life, Marine Industry & Technology, Marine City & Marine Civilization, and Marine Arts, each of which will be demonstrated in the respective sub-theme pavilions.
Alongside the pavilions, the event will also showcase three landmarks ― the Big-O, Sky Tower and Expo Digital Gallery.
The Big-O is an o-shaped mobile structure established on the sea, which envisages the world in 2050, where mankind and oceans harmoniously coexist. At 11 p.m. everyday when the Expo closes, visitors will be able to view a show that entails laser and light effects, three dimensional images, fireworks and a fountain.
The area is divided into three zones ― eco-zone, culture-zone and water-zone ― to allow visitors to experience different aspects of marine culture.
The Sky Tower is a 55-meter high abandoned cement silo renovated for the Expo. It has an observation deck at the top and the exterior is designed as a functioning pipe organ that plays tunes including “Arirang,” a traditional Korean song. Visitors will also be able to play the instrument using their smartphones.
The Expo Digital Gallery will sit on the 415-meter long street that links the Expo site with a KTX train station in the city. It features light-emitting diode screens that portray images of the sea, and visitors can send messages to a whale that swims in the digital seascape using smartphones and computers.
With its focus on oceans, the expo will also operate other diverse facilities including a maritime museum and an aquarium.
A multitude of cultural and tourism programs will be offered to entertain visitors. On “national days,” participating nations will stage performances showcasing their cultures. More than 3,200 performances and other shows by domestic and international celebrities are set to take place throughout the three months of the event.
The government announced in 2007 that it will initiate a “Yeosu Project” to help developing countries cope with maritime problems and other environment issues. The Yeosu Project represents a first case of international cooperation project implemented in the context of a World Expo. It seeks to bridge the divide between the developed and the developing world and build their capacity for meeting the challenges of climate change and its impact on the marine environment. Assistance for study and research on marine environmental changes, participation in international programs for research, and collaboration for development of technology and policy for green growth are a few of the areas incorporated in the Yeosu Project. The program will also invite and educate trainees from developing countries, provide technical assistance for each country to solve its current ocean-related challenges and conduct joint projects on regional seas.
The Expo is projected to generate about 12.2 trillion won ($10.8 billion) worth of production and create about 5.7 trillion won in added value, as well as 80,000 jobs. The government has vowed to earmark another $20 million for its five-year plan to support international efforts to address global warming. Along with the Olympic Games and World Cup, the Expo is considered to be one of the three major international festivals.