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Postponement of Expo 2020 would give time to reflect

POSTPONEMENT of Expo 2020 would give time to reflect on how to improve peoples lives once challenges of COVID-19 subside: Secretary General of Bureau International des Expositions.

Dimitri S Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) said that the proposed postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai would give the UAE and all international participants the time and the opportunity to reflect on how we can improve peoples lives around the world once the challenges of Covid-19 have subsided:

"World Expos are global gatherings of nations made possible by the shared and collective efforts of both the Organiser and participating countries," he told the Emirates News Agency (WAM).

"The decision to change the dates of a World Expo can therefore only be taken collectively. In accordance with the Paris Convention of 1928, two-thirds of Member States must vote in favor of the change of dates for this to be approved. Considering the practical impossibility of holding a General Assembly in the current context, Member States will vote on the change of dates remotely," he added.

According to BIE regulations, at least one month is required for a Committee proposal to be considered before a General Assembly, and the Governments of Member States need time to formulate and cast their votes. Thus, a period of 5 weeks is considered appropriate and will ensure that as many Member States as possible can cast their vote and thus leading to a final decision without delay.

The Executive Committee of the BIE is composed of government representatives of 12 countries which are elected by all BIE Member States to sit on the Committee. The current members of the Committee, elected during the 166th General Assembly of the BIE in November 2019, are: Finland, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Monaco, New Zealand, Russia, Senegal, Spain and Switzerland. France holds the presidency of the Executive Committee.

"In the long history of World Expos, minor changes of dates have happened for a number of reasons, but none have been on this scale. Since the BIE was created in 1928, no Expo has ever been postponed by a year. The proposed postponement of a year demonstrates not only the unprecedented nature of the current Covid-19 pandemic but also the engagement of the UAE and all participating nations in making Expo 2020 Dubai a truly inclusive and inspirational Expo," he continued.

The BIE was created to regulate the organisation of World Expos, including their duration and frequency. The current rules concerning the frequency of Expos – with World Expos held every five years - were adopted by a 1988 amendment to the BIE Convention and were created to respond to the needs of host countries and participating nations. A change of dates in exceptional circumstances has no impact on the dates of other Expos.

World Expos are based on the recognition that it is only by working together and exchanging solutions and ideas that progress can be made, as exemplified by the forward-looking theme of Expo 2020 Dubai, "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future". In light of the current situation and the many challenges raised by the Covid-19 pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai offers a unique opportunity to showcase global unity and solidarity. By bringing the world together in October 2021, Expo 2020 Dubai would  constitute  the best platform to build, with renewed optimism and hope, a better and brighter future for all.

"In this new context, "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" represents a bold call to action and offers a pathway towards a more united, more connected, and more sustainable future. The proposed postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai would give the UAE and all international participants the time and the opportunity to reflect on how we can improve peoples lives around the world once the challenges of Covid-19 have subsided. As we can see with the heartening response to the pandemic across the world, the answer lies not only with innovations and technologies, but also with solidarity and humanity," he noted.