Arid Zones Cluster

Agriculture and Nutrition


Steppes, rock, sand: aridity has a thousand nuances, and the Arid Zones Cluster has been showing them all. Countries with the most diverse cultures, as unique as the dunes in a desert, but with the commonality that all are making wise use of resources and have an unshakeable hope for the future. The countries of this cluster represent a large swath of the planet, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Areas that were the birthplace of the oldest civilizations and that today are facing fundamental challenges for their future and the rest of the planet.

The calm after the storm
A man of the desert sees the world as made of two basic elements: storms to shield oneself from and oases where one finds refuge. The Arid Zones Cluster wanted to give all visitors to Expo Milano 2015 a chance to experience this world first-hand. The space was planned to recreate the impression of crossing through a sandstorm, entering narrow passages where vision is reduced to a minimum. Once inside, the visitor notices a feeling of peace and rest. Rising in the centre of the whole exposition site is one of the installations for the Zero Hunger Challenge created by the United Nations that explained the crux of food security in the arid zones. All around it were large panels bearing images by George Steinmetz, the master of reportage.

The culture and tastes of the desert
Shaped like large rocks, the pavilions of the participating countries rose around the perimeter of the cluster. Walking into each of them, the visitor discovered the unknown riches of these dry climates: ancient artefacts and innovative irrigation technologies, enchanted landscapes and hypnotic music, caravans of dromedaries and thousand-year-old cities. Many of these countries also offered a taste of their typical foods, allowing visitors to surprise their senses with unexpected flavours and aromas, hot and spicy, full of the inexhaustable strength of the desert sun.

Discover the countries in the Arid Zones Cluster in the records of Expo Milano 2015

Djibuti: “Land of a Thousand and One Flavors”
Eritrea: ” Flourishing in Arid Zones, The Eritrean Experience”
Jordan: “Food security and biodiversity: initiatives in Jordan”
Mauritania: ” Irrigated Culture under Palm Trees of the Arid Regions of the Desert and Dairy Food”
Mali: “Food security in the context of climate change, farming innovation and the sustainable management of natural resources”
Palestine: ” Old as Olive Tree, Young as Olive Fruit”
Senegal: “Produce, Nourish and Protect: the Challenges of Food Security and Sustainable Development in Senegal”
Somalia: “The abundance of little water: Somalia – its animals, its scent”