news-icon 11/11/2021

SMECEYI supporting youth for innovative solutions of waste management for the Urban and Rural development theme

Looking back on Urban and Rural Development Week

Urban and Rural Development week at the Swiss Pavilion

For the Urban and Rural development theme Week at Expo 2020, the Swiss Pavilion together with partners attempted to draw attention on adopting the circular transition within an urban environment. The aim was to present the current situation, challenges, and opportunities when it comes to waste management, as well as share some specific and local best practices to the audience through panels, presentations and interactions.

One of the highlights of the week was the Swiss Middle East Circular Economy Initiative for Youth (SMECEYI) final event. This initiative, launched in March 2021 by the Swiss Pavilion in partnership with Swissnex and supported by Nestlé, aimed at finding students innovators from the region and empowering them by showcasing their projects to a global audience at the Expo 2020 Dubai. The initiative was also rolled out to enhance Switzerland’s bilateral relations in the Middle East region across the verticals of education, research and innovation.

Six teams defended their respective projects. Their solutions were celebrated as the fruit of Swiss-Middle East collaborations in science and technology. Each team had a different vision, way, and method that changed the problem into a real-life opportunity benefiting the circular economy and encouraging youth empowerment. The winner Plasticycle will take part in a boot camp organized by Nestlé in Switzerland in May 2022.

In collaboration with Switzerland Global Enterprise and SmartCity Alliance, the Swiss exhibition presented how Switzerland is changing the smart cities market, the circular economy and envisions the cities of tomorrow. From water management to waste recycling the visitors could watch different Swiss made innovations and their application.

Switzerland is definetely known for cheese and chocolate, but when it comes to innovation it occupies the first place according to the World Intellectual Property Organization index 2020 (WIPO). As Expo 2020 Dubai’s slogan connecting minds and creating the future, the Swiss Pavilion and Swissnex connected people from different countries of the globe to develop and create a future blooming with sustainability, opportunity, and mobility.



IGLUS is a non-profit initiative of the EPFL seeking to help cities better understand the strengths and weaknesses of the governance of their infrastructures with respect to three dimensions: efficiency, sustainability, and resilience. It is an action-research program that seeks to contribute to the better governance of increasingly larger, increasingly complex and increasingly dynamic urban systems.

→ Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) in partnership with SmartCity Alliance

S-GE is the official Swiss organisation for export and investment promotion. It supports Swiss SMEs in their international business and helps innovative foreign companies to establish in Switzerland. Since 2016, S-GE has purposefully intensified exports of Swiss cleantech products, including in the Middle East which is a strategic market.

→ SmartCity Alliance

SmartCity Alliance This Swiss association stands for the sustainable development of living space in urban and regional areas in the digital age. It represents the voice of Swiss companies and associations that contribute to the sustainable development of the economy, environment and society thanks to their innovations.

→ LC3 Cement (EPFL)

LC3 is a new type of cement which is comprised of a blend of limestone and calcined clay. LC3 can reduce CO2-emissions down by 40% in cement production. It is estimated that using LC3 globally has the potential to save every year at least 10 times the CO2-emissions of Switzerland. The objective of this project is, through research and testing, to make LC3 a standard in the production of cement globally.