Itaipu’s exhibit shows how water sustains Brazil’s ecosystems and economy

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In 12 days at Expo 2020 Dubai, more than 400,000 people visited the Brazil Pavilion, seeing attractions that highlight water care. Cover Photo: Alexandre Marchett/IB

Based on a topic still little known to the general public, the so-called flying rivers, Itaipu Binacional attracted 420,328 people to the Brazil Pavilion at Expo Dubai in just 12 days, helping the country to surpass the 2.1 million visitor mark and showing, with immersive and interactive technologies, how water, biodiversity, climate, and sustainable energy production are interdependent.

The flying rivers that leave the Amazon carry more water in the atmosphere than the Amazon River itself and are responsible for feeding the rivers of Southern and Southeast Brazil, including the Itaipu’s reservoir, which helps to generate around 10% of the electricity consumed in Brazil and 90% in Paraguay.
In a region with scarce water resources such as the Middle East, the show’s concept caught the public’s attention in a playful and interactive way. “Itaipu showed how it is possible to apply sustainable development to clean energy generation”, said Itaipu Coordination Director, Luiz Felipe Carbonell.

Immersive room at Itaipu’s exhibit shows how the flying rivers connect Brazilian’s ecosystems. Photo: Alexandre Marchetti/IB.

As an example of water care, Itaipu restored and protects more than 100 thousand hectares of Atlantic Forest on both sides of the reservoir, with 24 million trees planted on the Brazilian side alone.

To the UN Commissioner General for Expo, Maher Nasser, Itaipu’s exhibition was very interactive and hands-on. Especially for the emphasis on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda. “To see the exhibit connecting the SDGs with the work that is happening in different projects that go older than the SDGs is proof that there is continuity in the thinking of the importance of why we work to create prosperity and protect the environment”, he said.

Itaipu also promoted eight side events, covering different topics such as sustainable agriculture, smart cities, tech parks, and energy transition. One of the highlights was the launch of the first Global Symposium on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions, which will be held with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), from June 7 to 10 2022, inside Itaipu, on the border between Brazil and Paraguay.

The conference will gather experts that work with the water-energy nexus to discuss best practices related to SDG 6 (water) and 7 (energy) and their interrelations to other SDGs, such as climate action, fighting poverty, and inequalities, promoting health and education, among others.

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