At the Expo 2020 Dubai site.


Expo 2020 Dubai explores postponement by one year


DUBAI – The Expo 2020 Dubai committee said it is considering the possibility of delaying the event by one year following concerns from participating countries.

The Steering Committee made the announcement after a virtual meeting with representatives of participating countries on Monday (March 30).

Participants pointed out the global precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of those involved in the preparation of the mega event in Dubai.

The Steering Committee “reviewed with grave concern the major impact that the spread of COVID-19 is having on global public, social, and economic health”.

The committee agreed to explore with Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the World Expo governing body, the possibility of delaying the Expo 2020 opening by one year.

A final decision on postponement can only be made by the BIE’s Executive Committee and the General Assembly, which requires a two-thirds majority vote from its member states.

The BIE will now work with its member states and Expo 2020 Dubai organisers on a change of dates, if it is decided.

“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,” said Reem Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of 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.”

“We will follow due BIE processes on making the decision to delay Expo 2020. We remain firm in our collective commitment to deliver an Expo that’s true to its time and to our shared, urgent priorities. We believe that in light of this global challenge, humanity needs to come together to remember what unites us. That remains the collective ambition of all those involved in this Expo,” she added.

Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary General of BIE, welcomed the agreement to explore options for a one-year delay of the Expo 2020 opening.

“We will move forward in supervising the process to follow in accordance with the rules and regulations of the BIE convention,” he said.

“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,” he said.

Expo 2020 Dubai organisers will continue to assess the situation and consult closely with all stakeholders in Dubai, the UAE and internationally. ICA/Expat Media

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