The Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body responsible for Expo 2020 Dubai, has tentatively approved Dubai’s request to move its Expo 2020 fair to next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This decision was taken by the Executive Committee of the BIE during a virtual meeting on Tuesday. The name of the world fair would remain as Expo 2020 Dubai under the plan.
The change of dates to October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022 must be ratified by support from two-thirds majority of the BIE member states.
Once the motion receive a two-thirds majority of eligible and voting member states, the dates of Expo 2020 Dubai will be officially changed.
On Tuesday, delegates of 12 states approved the date change request from the UAE government based on an assessment of the “unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 on public health, economic activity and global restrictions on movement,” a BIE statement said.
Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, BIE secretary general, said he was sure that when the time was right, “Expo 2020 Dubai will constitute the best platform to build, with renewed optimism and hope, a better and brighter future for all.”
Alain Berger, chairman of the BIE’s executive committee and a delegate of France, said the panel supported the UAE’s request and recommended countries around the world reach the same consensus.
“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 said.
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said the country welcomed the BIE’s support.
She said the UAE looked forward to working constructively with partners to the new date “when the Expo will open its doors, and the UAE will welcome the world.”
The BIE is an intergovernmental organisation with 170 member states that leads and promotes world fairs.