Following a request from the government of the United Arab Emirates to reschedule Expo 2020 Dubai, the Executive Committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which oversees world expo events, has voted unanimously to recommend that the event be postponed until 2021.
The final decision is now up to the BIE’s General Assembly, consisting of the organization’s 170 member states whose representatives will vote on the change over the next five weeks. If a two-thirds majority agrees to the proposal, Expo 2020 Dubai will be rescheduled to begin on October 1, 2021.
BIE awarded Expo 2020 to the emirate in 2013 and since then Dubai has invested billions of dollars in new facilities and infrastructure to host the event, in addition to millions more in advertising and marketing to ensure the expo well covered and well attended. The theme chosen for Expo 2020 Dubai is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future” with three additional sub-themes of opportunity, mobility, and sustainability. Nearly 190 countries are expected to participate in the event along with millions of visitors visiting expo over the six months during which it will be open.
Commenting on the Executive Committee’s unanimous recommendation, Alain Berger, delegate of France and the Chairman of the Executive Committee said, “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. 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.”
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, added, “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. Now the official process for agreeing a delay begins, and we look forward to working constructively with BIE Member States, our friends, and partners to confirm the new date of 1 October 2021 when the Expo will open its doors, and the UAE will welcome the world.”
The BIE is an international body that was created in 1929 to oversee the scheduling, bidding, and selection process for World Exhibitions, or World Expos, which are normally held every five years. The organization also organizes Specialized Expos centered around specific topics or industries at various times between World Expo years.