The Expo 2020 Dubai steering committee and representatives of the countries taking part virtually convened for a second time to discuss the impact that COVID-19 will have on global preparations of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The Steering Committee reviewed the impact that the spread of COVID-19 is having on global public, social, and economic health and reaffirmed their solidarity with the international community as it navigates through the ramifications of this global crisis.
The committee collectively agreed to explore with the BIE, the World Expo governing body, the possibility of a one-year delay to the opening of Expo 2020. The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), will now work with its Member States and Expo 2020 Dubai organisers to establish a change in dates. A final decision on postponement can only be made by the BIE’s executive committee and the general assembly. Article 28 of the BIE Convention stipulates that, a change of dates requires a two-thirds majority vote from Member States of the Organisation.
Commenting on the decision, Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director general, Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The global situation is fast moving, and remains unpredictable. Over the last several weeks, we have been consulting with key UAE and international stakeholders to review the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on our plans and preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai.
“While they remain firmly committed to Expo 2020, many countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 and they have therefore expressed a need to postpone the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai by one year, to enable them to overcome this challenge. The UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai have listened. And in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we supported the proposal to explore a one-year postponement at today’s Steering Committee meeting. We look forward to welcoming the world, which we are certain will only come out of this pressing challenge stronger, and more resilient than it ever was.”
Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) secretary general S. Kerkentzes welcomed the Expo 2020 organisers’ approach and the Steering Committee’s recommendations. He said: “The World is facing extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances and we all expect the challenges to continue in the months to come. Today’s agreement by the organiser and the members of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Steering Committee to explore options for a one-year delay to the opening of the World Expo is welcome. In the spirit and in accordance with the Paris Convention of 1928, any decision on the World Expo needs to be collaborative. and agreed upon collectively in a vote of the countries that form the BIE. We will move forward in supervising the process to follow in accordance with the rules and regulations of the BIE convention.”
“I am confident that we will collectively overcome the challenges caused by this global crisis. The UAE’s decision to support a one year postponement demonstrates pragmatism, openness, and commitment to delivering an Expo that lives up to our shared ambition. We retain full confidence in the UAE’s ability to host a World Expo that inspires and delights millions, when the time is right.”