BIE Executive Committee proposes postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai and calls for vote on change of dates

Event to maintain the name ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’

The Executive Committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has unanimously agreed to propose the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai. The new proposed dates are October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

According to a statement, since changing the dates of an Expo requires the support of a two-thirds majority of the BIE’s member states, the General Assembly will now be called upon to vote on the panel’s recommendation. Voting will be carried out remotely between April 24 and May 29.

Members of the Committee – delegates of the 12 member States elected by the BIE’s General Assembly – are said to have met virtually on April 21 to examine the change in dates requested by the UAE government. This request was made after a meeting of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee last month, in which participating countries expressed their need to postpone the Expo’s opening, in order to overcome the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.

Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on public health, economic activity and global restrictions on movement, the Executive Committee unanimously recommended approving the UAE’s request to postpone the Expo, and to maintain the name ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’.

Member States will be asked to cast their vote remotely by May 29. Should the motion receive a two-thirds majority of eligible and voting Member States, the dates of Expo 2020 Dubai will officially change to October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, the statement said.

“World Expos are collective endeavours that express the shared international goal of progress for all humankind. I am confident that when the time is right, Expo 2020 Dubai will constitute the best platform to build, with renewed optimism and hope, a better and brighter future for all,” said Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the secretary general of BIE.

Alain Berger, delegate of France and the chairman of the Executive Committee of the BIE added, “The UAE’s willingness to listen to participating countries and its pragmatism to take the necessary steps towards postponement demonstrate yet again its strong commitment to hosting a truly inclusive and inspirational World Expo.”

He stated, the Executive Committee of the BIE fully supports the UAE’s request for postponement and recommends that countries around the world reach the same consensus.

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of Expo 2020 Dubai, welcomed the BIE panel’s recommendation for postponement of Expo 2020 for a year.

Kerkentzes explained that the official process for agreeing a delay had now begun. “We look forward to working constructively with BIE Member States, our friends, and partners to confirm the new date of October 1, 2021 when the Expo will open its doors, and the UAE will welcome the world.”

He pointed out that solidarity and unity have defined the work of the BIE since the birth of the organisation. “Expos are expressions of a collective engagement, bringing humanity together in a spirit of peace and cooperation. It is now for our member states to make a decision about when we will reconvene in Dubai to celebrate innovation and cooperation for humankind,” he concluded.

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