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Organisers of Expo 2020 explore postponing event by one year

Worldwide impact of COVID-19 prompted meeting with Steering Committee participants.

Al Wasl Dome

Expo 2020 Dubai held a virtual meeting of its Steering Committee to consider the impact of COVID-19 on event preparations.

The Committee collectively agreed to explore the possibility of a one year delay to the opening of Expo 2020. The Expo organisers and Steering Committee will work with the World Expo governing body, Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

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 says that a change of dates requires a two-thirds majority vote from Member States.

The Steering Committee members reaffirmed their solidarity with the international community during this unprecedented global crisis.

A fast-moving and unpredictable situation

Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai, elaborated. She said: “The global situation is fast moving, and remains unpredictable. We have been consulting with key stakeholders to review the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on plans and preparations.

“While they remain firmly committed to Expo 2020, many countries have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. They have expressed a need to postpone the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai by one year, 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. We look forward to welcoming the world, which we are certain will come out of this stronger and more resilient.”

Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), welcomed the approach and recommendations. He said: “Today’s agreement to explore options for a one-year delay to the opening of the World Expo is welcome. We will move forward in supervising the process to follow in accordance with the BIE convention rules and regulations.”

“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 meets our shared ambition. We have full confidence the UAE will host a World Expo that inspires and delights millions, when the time is right.”

Expo 2020 Dubai organisers will continue to assess the situation and consult closely with all stakeholders.