April 21, 2020 — The Executive Committee of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has unanimously agreed to propose the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai to 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022. As changing the dates of an Expo requires the support of a two-thirds majority of Member States of the BIE (Article 28 of the Paris Convention of 1928), the General Assembly will now be called upon to vote on the Executive Committee’s recommendation. Voting will be carried out remotely between Friday 24 April and Friday 29 May.
Members of the Committee – delegates of 12 Member States elected by the BIE’s General Assembly – met virtually today to examine the change in dates requested by the Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This request was made after a meeting of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee on 30 March, in which participating countries expressed their need to postpone the Expo’s opening in order to overcome the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Assessing the unforeseen impact of the Covid-19 on public health, economic activity and global restrictions on movement, the Executive Committee unanimously recommended approving the UAE’s request to postpone the Expo, and to maintain the name “Expo 2020 Dubai”.
Considering the practical impossibility of holding a General Assembly, Member States will be asked to cast their vote remotely by Friday 29 May.
Should the motion receive a two-thirds majority of eligible and voting Member States, the dates of Expo 2020 Dubai will be officially changed to October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, the Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), stated: “World Expos are collective endeavours that express the shared international goal of progress for all humankind. 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.”
Alain Berger, delegate of France and the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the BIE indicated: “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, 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 1 October 2021 when the Expo will open its doors, and the UAE will welcome the world.”
Dimitri S. Kerkentzes added: “Solidarity and unity have defined the work of the BIE since the birth of our Organisation. Expos are expressions of a collective engagement, bringing humanity together in a spirit of peace and cooperation. It is now for our Member States to make a decision about when we will reconvene in Dubai to celebrate innovation and cooperation for humankind.”