Montenegro's expo letter to the future

25 August 2020
The Montenegro Expo 2020 pavilion will offer an immersive journey through the bioscapes of the Balkan nation

Situated in southeast Europe, Montenegro is one of the youngest countries in the continent, having regained its independence in May 2006. 

Home to rugged mountains, scenic beaches and untouched forests, the Balkan nation boasts a rich history and old-world charm.

As a tourism destination, Montenegro’s popularity is growing thanks to the blend of Mediterranean and Alpine experiences the country has to offer. Biodiversity and natural heritage are top priorities, and the country is focused on sustainable tourism development.

In 1991, Montenegro declared itself an “ecological state”, and in 2016 it adopted the ‘National Strategy for Sustainable Development until 2030’, which encompasses all 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations. These targets aim to drive economic growth, improve health and education, end poverty, tackle climate change and protect the environment. Together, these two documents create the essential preconditions for the implementation of sustainable development in Montenegro.

Biodiversity hotspot

Montenegro is also keen to position itself as a research hub, given its status as a biodiversity hotspot in the Mediterranean. Despite the country’s relatively small size – at 13,812 square kilometres it is nearly six times smaller than the UAE – Montenegro encompasses a range of ecosystems and different habitats. 

Nearly 60 per cent of Montenegrin territory is covered in forests, and areas of international importance with rare, endemic and endangered species have been identified around the country. These include 13 areas that are home to rare bird species and 22 rare plant habitats.  

Pavilion theme

Under the concept Letter to the Future, the country’s pavilion at Expo 2020 will feature different segments:

  • Kaleidos of Montenegro will offer insight into the country’s rich history
  • Letters of Beauties is planned to be a central installation exhibiting the untouched natural beauties and diverse landscapes and sceneries of Montenegro
  • Design of Future will display development projects including tourism, infrastructure and green initiatives
  • Letters to the Future is designed as an area where visitors can create their own letters to the future
  • Senses of Montenegro will include a virtual fairy forest in which visitors can immerse themselves
Sustainability-driven future

“The Montenegro pavilion will offer visitors an insight into the country’s multi-religious, cultural heritage; its national parks; and its diverse ecosystems, while celebrating it as an open and safe investment destination,” says Montenegro’s ambassador to the UAE and commissioner-general of the Montenegrin pavilion at Expo 2020, Dusanka Jeknic. 

“Our aim is to highlight the richness of Montenegro’s biodiversity, its innovative efforts to strike a balance between man and nature, and its strategy for rapid economic development that seeks to preserve the environment for future generations.”

The Montenegrin exhibition will be located in a two-storey pavilion in the Sustainability district. The interior design of the pavilion was selected through an international open call that took place in late 2018. More than 100 global participants submitted proposals and a six-member team led by Montenegrin architect Matija Vukovic won the competition.

The planned exhibition will celebrate past and present visionaries from Montenegro whose projects are considered to be ahead of their time when it comes to creating a better future for generations to come.

“The exhibition will have a strong educational character and the knowledge the visitor will be able to acquire while moving through the exhibition will be related, directly or indirectly, to the theme of sustainability,” says Jeknic.

Montenegro will rely on interactive features such as multimedia presentations, mobile applications and augmented reality to engage visitors as they explore the pavilion.

Post-pandemic recovery 

Disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have affected Montenegro’s programming plans and works on the pavilion have been postponed for six months. In the meantime, project studies are being carried out, enabling the exhibition space to be adapted to the latest safety standards and protocols.

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Jeknic says that in a year’s time, when the expo takes place, it will be “an opportunity to collaborate in the true spirit of solidarity, friendship and renewed optimism for the future”. 

“The event will be an agent for future global progress and it will help strengthen economies and stimulate growth, fostering innovation, driving technological and scientific development and encouraging creativity across various fields,” she adds.

“An important message from the Montenegrin exhibition to the audience of Expo 2020 will be the preservation of the balance between people and nature. We will also endeavour to present our nation’s natural treasures and the strategy for protecting the environment for future generations.”

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