Significant international and regional organisations have affirmed their solidarity with Expo 2020 Dubai for the decision to explore the possibility of a postponement because of the current global health crisis.
They join a long list of participating nations and official commercial partners that have also shown support for the possible postponement, after the significant impact of COVID-19 on global public, social and economic health led many International Participants to suggest delaying the opening of Expo 2020 while they focus on navigating the escalating situation.
Dr. Levi Uche Madueke, Commissioner General for the African Union at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “The Africa Union stands in solidarity with Expo 2020 Dubai and the BIE as consideration is being made to postpone the Expo in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The AU remains committed to the course of leveraging the Expo 2020 platform to seek innovative solutions towards creating a better future for all.”
Ambassador Hossam Zaki, Assistant Secretary General and Commissioner General of the League of Arab States at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “At this critical period of human history the need to strengthen international and regional cooperation is bigger than ever. The League of Arab States is supportive of Expo 2020 Dubai and commends it for its commitment to bringing its vision to life despite any possible postponement. We remain committed to working closely with Expo 2020 Dubai as a platform that will bring the world together and advocate for collective action towards a better future for humanity.”
Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said: “I appreciate the wise decision taken by Expo 2020 Dubai, as the key priority now is to implement timely and coordinated measures to mitigate the health and economic impacts of the outbreak. Together, through cooperation and solidarity, the world will overcome COVID-19, and I look forward to a successful World Expo.”
Ambassador Noria Abdullah Al-Hamamy, Commissioner General of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “I fervently welcome the approach of the organisers of Expo 2020 and the recommendations of the Steering Committee for exploring the proposal of a possible postponement of one year the opening of the said event. I would also like to commend the precautionary measures taken by the OIC Member States, OIC Institutions and the host country the UAE, and all efforts undertaken to counter the outbreak of this pandemic worldwide. I remain confident in the capacity of the United Arab Emirates to host a World Expo that will bring humanity together in a spirit of peace, understanding and commitment at the most opportune time.”
His Excellency Dr. Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, said: “As a UAE-based global philanthropic organisation, we have been eagerly looking forward to Dubai and the UAE hosting the world in 2020, to create, collaborate and innovate. However, as the world comes together to fight the spread of COVID-19, as a participant, Dubai Cares appreciates and supports the decision taken by Expo 2020 Dubai to recommend the postponement of this global event. This postponement will give Expo 2020 Dubai participants more time to innovate and work towards an even better and more meaningful experience that will amaze and engage all visitors.”
Prof Ghaleb Alhdrami Al Breiki, Commissioner General of UAE University at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “We were not surprised that due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, an agreement was reached to explore the postponement of Expo 2020. We fully support and commend such a difficult decision during these unprecedented times. As the UAE’s leading academic institution, we will use this time to focus our resources particularly in the fields of health and science to work together to come through this emergency. We believe the World Expo’s theme – ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ – strengthens the momentum in this fight against this global pandemic. When we come together as one, nothing is impossible.”
His Excellency Dr Nayef Falah Al-Hajraf, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), said: “In these unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity needs solidarity more than ever. Expo 2020 Dubai will remain a forum that will further entrench collaboration and provide a platform for innovation and cooperation.”
On 30 March, the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee, comprising Expo leadership, International Participants and the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) representatives, collectively agreed to explore the possibility of a one-year delay to the opening of Expo 2020.
The BIE, the governing body of World Expos, has confirmed its Executive Committee will meet on 21 April to consider the proposed delay, and will make a recommendation to all BIE member states which they must then vote on. A final decision requires a two-thirds majority.
The UAE government has formally requested a change in the dates of Expo 2020 Dubai, beginning 1 October 2021 and running to 31 March 2022.
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 more than 200 countries and international organisations come together to work towards a brighter future, will be needed more than ever.