Dubai Expo 2020 to be postponed, final vote by May 29

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Expo 2020 Dubai. Image courtesy:

The Executive Committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the World Expo governing body, has collectively agreed to recommend the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai to October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022.

The decision will now be put to a vote within the General Assembly that will be carried out remotely between April 24, 2020 – May 29, 2020.

To confirm the change in dates, the decision will need to be ratified by a two-thirds majority of the member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

The members of the Executive Committee that agreed to the proposal comprised of delegates of 12 member states elected by the BIE’s General Assembly who met virtually on April 21 to consider the UAE government’s request to change the dates.

The request by the UAE submitted on March 30 was made against the backdrop of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent worldwide travel restrictions that are in effect worldwide.

Considering the practical unworkability of holding a General Assembly, member states will be asked to cast their vote remotely by May 29, said a press statement issued by the BIE.

“We welcome today’s recommendation of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) Executive Committee to support a request by the UAE Government and Expo 2020’s Steering Committee to postpone Expo 2020 for a year,” said Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of Expo 2020 Dubai.

“Now the official process for agreeing a delay begins, and we look forward to working constructively with the 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,” added Al Hashimy.

Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the secretary-general of the BIE, stated: “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.”

The six-month-long Dubai World Expo was originally scheduled to start on October 20, 2020, and run until April 10, 2021.

The Dubai World Expo would be the first expo to be held in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia (MENASA) region, and will include pavilions from 192 nations, with 25 million visits expected during the show. Up to 70 percent of visitors are anticipated to come from outside the UAE, the largest proportion of international visitors in the 169-year history of World Expos.


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