By Gavin Gibbon
Final decision now rests with member states with voting to take place between April 24 and May 29
The executive committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has unanimously agreed to propose the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai.
The 12-delegate member states agreed to the request from the UAE Government that the global showcase be moved to run from October 1 2021 to March 31 2022, in light of the challenges posed by the current coronavirus pandemic.
Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, secretary general of the BIE, said: “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.”
Any change of dates requires a two-thirds majority of BIE member states, with voting set to be carried out remotely between April 24 and May 29.
It was also agreed to propose that the event retain its title as Expo 2020 Dubai.
Alain Berger, delegate of France and chairman of the executive committee of the BIE, 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.”
Expo 2020 Dubai, the first World Expo held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, was set to open on October 20 this year, host 192 countries and welcome some 25 million visits over the course of 173 days.
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and director-general of Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “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 October 1, 2021 when the Expo will open its doors, and the UAE will welcome the world.”