Participating nations have offered Expo 2020 Dubai their full support and solidarity after a decision on 30 March to explore the possibility of a one-year postponement because of the current global health crisis.
The significant impact of COVID-19 on global public, social and economic health led many countries to suggest delaying the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai until October 2021, while they focus on navigating the escalating situation.
The Steering Committee collectively agreed to explore with the World Expo governing body the possibility of a one-year delay to the opening of Expo 2020.
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has confirmed that a decision will be made by the Executive Committee meeting on 21 April and by two-thirds majority vote of BIE Member States. The BIE will consider a proposed change of dates for Expo 2020 Dubai, beginning 1 October 2021 and running to 31 March 2022, as formally requested by the UAE Government.
The agreement to take the delay proposal to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) reaffirmed Expo 2020 Dubai’s solidarity with the international community.
Shri Bidyut Behari Swain, Additional Secretary at the Department of Commerce and Commissioner General of India at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “While we have been looking forward to showcasing the best of India alongside the rest of the world at Expo 2020, our shared values as global citizens place on us the responsibility to accord priority to safeguarding global public health as the world’s most urgent need at this time.
“When the time is right, which we are confident shall be soon, we will all convene for a great celebration with renewed optimism and hope, in the spirit of global cooperation for the future. At this time, we reaffirm our resolve to work together for an end to this pandemic at the earliest possible.’’
Dr Ahmed Maghawry Diab, Commissioner General of Egypt at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Egypt appreciates the efforts undertaken by the UAE Government and the BIE to convene Expo 2020 Dubai. We also commend their efforts to accommodate the various needs and requests of all participants. Egypt is committed to a successful event as much as it is committed to all actions taken or to be agreed upon to ensure the safety of all international and domestic visitors.”
Sérgio Segóvia, Commissioner General of Brazil at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Our path hasn’t changed course; it is just a bit longer. The World Expo in Dubai will still be an amazing event that brings out the best of our humanity, and Brazil wholeheartedly supports the decision to seek a postponement until 2021.”
Juan Pablo Cavelier, Commissioner General of Colombia at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We applaud the idea of the BIE and Expo 2020 Dubai organisers to consider exploring new dates for the Expo. Today, more than ever the next World Expo represents an opportunity for the world to show the impact of this type of event. We are sure that the outcome of these efforts will result in a more impactful Expo and will better reflect the objectives of the 192 participating countries.”
The recommendation followed several weeks of discussions, both internally and in consultation with key UAE and international stakeholders, to review the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on Expo 2020’s plans and preparations.
Expo 2020 remains steadfast in delivering a World Expo that is true to its founding purpose: to provide a global platform to address shared challenges and seek solutions in the spirit of international cooperation and global solidarity. Such an event, which will see 192 nations come together to work towards a brighter future, will be needed more than ever.