Health and well-being is central to every aspect of life on this planet. In all parts of the world, health and well-being is the single most important prerequisite for things like economic prosperity, a sustainable planet, and flourishing urban and rural life. To have success in any of those areas, people must be healthy, thriving individuals.
The relevance of our theme is even more important given the global pandemic, showing we are all interconnected on matters of health and wellness. Using the United Nations Sustainability Goal 3, “Good Health and Well-Being” as our guide, we will convene the world for thirteen weeks of programming organized around each of the United Nation’s Thirteen Sustainable Development targets and indictors. We will have a particular focus on prevention, innovation, equalization, and collaboration. As with all Expo’s, we will showcase the latest and greatest technology but also pay attention to key success indicators such as food security and access to clean water.
Now more than ever, global interconnectedness and inter-vulnerability are difficult to deny. What better time to gather a diverse collection of global experts, leaders, and ordinary citizens for a robust global conversation about why and how everyone can work together to dramatically improve humanity’s collective health and well-being?
This world exposition would happen at a time when health and well-being is changing incredibly rapidly, in incomprehensible ways.
For the first time in human history mass data availability, and the innovative mining and engineering of that data, will soon allow for hyper-personalized preventative care at mass scale. At the same time, increased personalized education and care can be delivered in real time via hand-held computers, or “smart phones.” According to the United Nations, humans are now more likely to have access to a cell phone and internet connectivity than a toilet. The convergence of all these developments gives one the potential to bring the tremendous benefits of hyper-personalized care and education to all parts of the globe.
Seemingly every week, technology and science experts are creating life-changing new products, services, and practices, some of which could change the course of human history. For example, recent research about fecal microbiota transplantation raises the very real possibility that customized treatments could significantly mitigate the lethal impacts of both famines and the obesity epidemic.
Serious research is being done on mind-blowing innovations that sound like something out of a futuristic science fiction novel. Microscopic nanorobots are designed to hunt down deadly viruses and cancer cells. Artificial intelligence provides powerful new real-time decision support to medical professionals. Three-dimensional bioprinting of human organs can be fit for transplantation. Individualized cancer treatments can be shaped by revolutionary genomic sequencing and gene therapy advances.
At the same time, research about the social determinants of health and well-being is opening the world’s eyes wide to unconscionable health and well-being disparities. This research could dramatically improve the world’s ability to more equitably allocate medical and public health resources.
This issue must be elevated higher on policymakers’ agendas. And then there is the COVID-19 pandemic. If the citizens of the world did not sufficiently internalize the fundamental truth of Secretary General Annan’s “no safe islands” warning in 2001, humankind is much better prepared to do so in 2027, in the wake of the deadliest global pandemic in a century.
For years to come, the world will be learning important lessons from successes and failures during the pandemic. Lasting impacts of both the disease itself and the tremendous mental trauma it caused will be felt for generations.
The formative pandemic nightmare is seared into collective consciousness. All this fast-emerging health-related information inundates global citizens. It is a crucial inflexion point in human history, and the right time for an international exposition on Health and Well-Being focusing on both hopeful opportunities and sobering challenges. Let us seize this opportunity and make it a global educable moment
We Are Expo Ready.
A compact, sustainable, modern site that is built to handle guests from around the world.
The United States and the host community of Bloomington, Minnesota are expo ready and fully prepared to host a successful and engaging specialized exposition in 2027. The site is the beneficiary of billions of public tax dollars that has built significant infrastructure in and around the area. A large, international airport is located three minutes from the site, and it sits adjacent to the largest tourist attraction in the United States, the Mall of America. The city of Bloomington is part of the Minneapolis-St Paul region that is often referred to as the Twin Cities. As the 16th largest metropolitan market in the United States, the Twin Cities is an important global economic and cultural center located in the heartland of the country. The region and site have existing infrastructure to quickly build an Expo grounds and manage the influx of attendees from around the world.
In Medical Alley, one will find the world’s leading health technology innovation cluster, the highest ranked hospital, and the globally recognized Destination Medical Center. Medical Alley is also home to the nation’s largest private health insurer and more than 1,000 healthcare companies, employing more than 500,000 Minnesotans and millions more worldwide.
Beyond health care, Minnesota justifiably prides itself on its “quality of life” well-being measures. The state always ranks highly among states on the U.S. News and World Report Quality of Life rankings.
However, despite its strong health and well-being rankings, the state of Minnesota also has disturbing disparities in health outcomes. Too many residents lack the financial means to access life-saving health care. As a result, the Expo sponsors know there is much to learn from international participants.
In a world with “no safe islands,” the organizers of this Expo fully understand that no nation can do it alone when it comes to health and well-being. Everyone must listen and learn to make progress.
The United States is excited and honored by the potential to host and facilitate these global conversations. The sharing of promising innovations will be honest and transparent. Every nation has shortcomings and should welcome the expertise and experience of others.
The Expo 2027 Committee is setting the best platform possible to convene, facilitate, and energize a series of civil, synergistic conversations among all those attending in person or virtually. Uncomfortable conversations the world needs to have to improve will not be overlooked. All viewpoints will be engaged.
The United States hosts do not pretend to have all the answers. The Expo 2027 Organizing Committee will be committed to providing a welcoming stage to a broad range of global issues, cultures, viewpoints, and disciplines. Every part of the world has something to contribute and gain from a conversation about health and well-being. Every region has successes and setbacks from which all can learn.
The Expo will address health and well-being in a holistic way, not in a narrow way. “Holistic” is a term that means different things to different people, so here are some examples of what we mean.
The Specialized Exposition will focus on the needs of the human mind, body and spirit, and their inter-relatedness. It will showcase a multitude of factors that many unfortunately do not always associate with well-being, such as more thoroughly weaving the arts, physical activity, meditation, social connections, and nutritional best practices into individuals’ lives.
As we discuss later in the dossier, millions of Expo visitors will have a range of engaging experiential opportunities that demonstrate how their daily choices impact their individual health and well-being. Those likely will be among the more memorable “educable moments” we will create for visitors.
But beyond individual choices, we will also call attention to the ways in which environmental factors – housing, education, clean air and water, early learning, agriculture and food production, cultural norms, pollution, climate change, and the social safety net, to name just a few – are profoundly shaping the world’s health and well-being, and how we can do better.
In the state that produced the University of Minnesota agronomist Norman Borlaug –who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his initiatives to feed the world– nutrition, food security, obesity, water safety, and food safety also will be major exposition topics. Minnesota and the Upper Midwest Region serves as a major center of agriculture and food production. As such, we know those sectors can have either a positive or negative impact on the root causes of many of the health and well-being challenges humans face. The right balance between meeting the world’s growing nutritional needs and maintaining a sustainable and bountiful environment must be achieved.
The list of serious threats related to climate change is long and sobering, particularly for disadvantaged populations. Extreme weather events like catastrophic floods, droughts, tropical storms, blizzards, cold waves, heat waves, tornadoes, etc. – will present huge new challenges. In the midst of those extreme weather events, foodborne illnesses, hunger, and temperature related death and suffering will be worse than ever. Biodiversity will be harmed by climate change, which will present serious new challenges related to human nutrition, medical treatments, and mental health.
We know from past epidemics that significant changes in temperature, rainfall, and humidity have had impacts on the spread of infectious diseases. Therefore, in the era of rapid and dramatic climate change we could very well see new diseases bursting onto the scene. Diseases could also spread in different and more rapid ways than before. Our global disease surveillance and response systems must be prepared for this perilous new era.
Climate change is usually categorized as an environmental or energy issue. But climate change is also a seismic health and well-being issue. For self-preservation reasons, we all need to be doing much more to combat the existential threat of climate change. Expo visitors will repeatedly receive that message loud and clear.
The circumstances into which humans are born and live, and the historical and contemporary injustices underpinning those circumstances are a major root cause of health inequities, or differences in health status seen within and between countries and categories of people. This issue is critically important. Educating participants about the impact of social determinants of health challenges individuals to focus on what must be done to significantly mitigate health disparities, and eventually eliminate them. Visitors will be challenged to grapple with major ethical questions around health and well-being, such as whether every human should be guaranteed a minimum human right to health and wellbeing, and a minimum level of health care.
Naturally, there will be discussions about communicable and non-communicable diseases. This include both illnesses that are prevalent now and some that could loom large in the future. Discussions will center around the root causes of the diseases, such as poverty, water safety, physical inactivity, malnutrition, hygiene, sanitation, obesity, substance abuse, ignorance, mental illness, climate change, pollution, tobacco use, armed conflicts, under-resourced surveillance systems, and inadequate public health infrastructure.
The Expo will especially bring the issue of mental health and well-being to this high visibility global stage in a big way. The COVID-19 pandemic served as a bracing reminder of the importance and fragility of collective mental health. The Expo 2027 Organizing Committee will challenge participants to get as serious and innovative about treating mental illnesses as physical illnesses.
Overall, the Expo will draw from all parts of the health and well-being continuum, from individual circumstances and choices to public health infrastructure to preventative and acute health care. The components on that continuum should never be considered as an “either/or” proposition because all are necessary to make dramatic progress in human health and well-being.
SDG3 Focus. Expo 2027 has chosen Goal 3 of the United Nation’s Sustainability Goals (SDG3), focused on “Good Health and Well-Being.” Informed by some of the world’s foremost thinkers, as well as ordinary citizens, SDG3 provides an excellent consensus summary of the scope of the pressing health and wellness challenges humans face. The thirteen SDG3 targets and indicators supply us with a roadmap for this Expo. But the richness of the world’s 93 days together in the United States will come from the synergy between the experts, leaders, and citizens we gather to address the challenges articulated in that document.