BIE Approves Delay of Expo 2020 Dubai to Oct. 1, 2021
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By EDD K. USMAN
(SDN) — NOW, it’s final, the Expo 2020 Dubai will run starting October 1, 2021 and concludes March 31 2022.
The Expo, formally known as the World Expo, was originally scheduled to kick off Oct 20, 2020 until April 10, 2021.
But the novel coronavirus outbreak in December 2019 and subsequently declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) compelled the United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to seek a one-year postponement.
The Organizing Committee of the Dubai event with nearly 200 countries participating and a projected 25 million visitors submitted its request for postponement to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) based in Paris, France, for deliberation by BIE member states.
Some two-thirds of the member states approved and confirmed the request for postponement even as votes can be cast until May 29.
In Manila, the UAE Ambassador to the Philippines Hamad Saeed Obaid Al-Zaabi launched the countdown for the grand event billed as the “Greatest Show on Earth” (https://scitechanddigital.news/2019/11/06/uae-amb-al-zaabi-says-expo-2020-dubai-countdown-ongoing/).
Organizers said the postponement “allows all participants to safely navigate the impact of Covid-19, and allows the World Expo to focus on a collective desire for new thinking to identify solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time.”
The Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee welcomed the decision of the member states of the BIE.
“We welcome the decision of the BIE Member States to support the delay (of the) Expo 2020 Dubai by one year. We are thankful to Member States for their continued commitment to contributing to a World Expo in Dubai that will play a pivotal role in shaping our post-pandemic world at a time when it will be most needed,” says His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, and chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee.
“Over the last 50 years, we have sought to build bridges, connections, and partnerships around the world because we believe in genuine collaboration to safeguard the future for all. This swift and overwhelming vote reflects the strength of our international partnerships and truly reflects the positive role the UAE and Dubai play with all countries around the world.
“This affirmation by the international community of Dubai’s offering and its ability to deliver, further strengthens our commitment to matching ambition with achievement to hosting an event that will capture the world’s imagination, when the time is right.”
Voting by the BIE General Assembly are, of course, through a meeting in person but Covid-19 has disrupted practically every facet of life, including the every day routine to business operations to conferences, among others.
Thus, the members of the General Assembly cast their votes remotely on the BIE Executive Committee’s recommendation made on April on postponing the World Expo in Dubai, the first in the Middle East and Africa. The government of the UAE proposed in early April the resetting of the mega-event as the coronavirus pandemic swept the world.
Voting by the General Assembly of the BIE is still open untilay 29, but the two-thirds threshold for approval was already surpassed inside a week’s time after voting begun on April 24.
BIE Secretary General Dimitri S. Kerkentzes expressed approval for the triumph of the “Yes” votes.
“I applaud the swift response by BIE Member States. Their support for the postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai — which will be formally approved on May 29 — is a renewed sign of solidarity, and demonstrates the shared will to work together in creating the future,” notes Kerkentzes.
“In their support for the one-year postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai, Member States of the BIE are giving the world the opportunity to reconvene in 2021, when together, we can address the challenges facing humanity and celebrate the unity and solidarity that strengthens us. With its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, Expo 2020 Dubai will offer the world a unique platform to share the lessons, solutions and ideas for a better tomorrow,” the BIE secretary general emphasizes. (SDN)
Source: Expo 2020 Dubai website.