The UAE has officially proposed that the World Expo 2020 Dubai be moved to start on October 1, 2021, in light of the ongoing issues caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The request was made in a letter addressed to Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, secretary-general of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).
A statement from the BIE said: “In the letter, His Highness Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation of the UAE, seeks the postponement of the World Expo following in-depth discussions by the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee with the Organiser and the BIE on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and in solidarity with participating countries.”
Following discussions with the BIE, participating countries and key stakeholders, the UAE has proposed that the event starts on October 1, 2021 and runs through to March 31, 2022.
Should the postponement be granted, the UAE has asked that it still uses ‘Expo 2020 Dubai’ as the official name of the event.
It comes following a meeting of the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee on March 30, which reviewed the major impact of the spread of Covid-19 on global public, social and economic health, and agreed to explore with the BIE the possibility of a one year delay to the opening of Expo 2020.
“The UAE and Expo 2020 Dubai have listened. And in the spirit of solidarity and unity, we supported the proposal to explore a one year postponement at today’s steering committee meeting,” said Reem Al Hashemy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai
A final decision on a change of dates can only be made by a two-thirds majority vote of BIE member states, as stipulated by Article 28 of the 1928 Paris Convention, following a recommendation of the Executive Committee.
The BIE said it would hold a virtual meeting on April 21 to discuss “options for a change of dates”.