Portugal participates in World Majlis as part of Expo’s Health and Wellness Week

In collaboration with Portugal, the World Majlis “Healthier World, Healthier People: Designing Spaces That Heal Our Planet” brought together thought leaders, visionaries and changemakers to explore how we can design spaces that can heal our planet and build happier societies. The panel discussion took place on Sunday, 30 January, as part of Expo’s Health and Wellness Week.


Climate change is causing major transformations across the world. From pandemics to droughts, wildfires to hurricanes: nature’s response to our growing activities is now affecting entire communities at a scale and frequency that we have not seen before. Architecture certainly has a major role to play in providing creative solutions to the way we design our built environment. How important is the role of architecture and urban planning in helping restore health of communities and planet?


This was the focus behind this week’s World Majlis, held at Expo’s Sustainability Pavilion, which was moderated by Federica Busa, Senior Vice President of Visitor Experience for Expo 2020 Dubai, and featured the participation of Joaquim Cunha, CEO of Health Cluster Portugal.


Other panel members included Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, traditional healer, spiritual teacher and shaman from Greenland; Ahmad Abdulrahman Bukhash, Chief Architect and Founder of ARCHIDENTITY, UAE; David Harland, CEO for Eden Project International, UK; Nino Künzli, Dean of the Swiss School of Public Health, Switzerland; Tom Ioney, Associate Professor of Public Health and Epidemiology at Dubai’s Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences; Habiba Al Marashi, Co-Founder and Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), UAE; and Royal Pineda, Principal Architect and CEO, BUDJI+ROYAL Architecture+Design, Philippines.


On the future of health, Joaquim Cunha said it should not be hospital-centric, but instead “centred on the patient, privileging home care and having in hospitals only those who need to be there”. The big challenge we face, he said, is in chronic disease so we “need new answers and solutions that focus on prevention and prediction […] bringing more attention to our lifestyles”.


The CEO of Health Cluster Portugal also pointed to Big Data as a key solution to tackle future challenges: “The big questions we have in health – when we talk about R&D, management, treatment – most of the answers will come from the intelligent use of data […] we have tremendous knowledge in this field, we just need to use it in the right way”, he stressed.


Health and Wellness Week is one of 10 Theme Weeks held under Expo 2020’s Programme for People and Planet, offering an exchange of inspiring new perspectives to address the greatest challenges and opportunities of our time.