DUBAI: International participants from across the globe and official commercial partners have shown solidarity with Expo 2020 Dubai following the agreement to explore postponing the event because of the current global health crisis, the official news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.
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 Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee – comprising members of the senior leadership of Expo 2020 and World Expo governing body the Bureau International des Expositions, BIE, alongside representatives from Expo 2020’s International Participants, collectively agreed to explore with the BIE the possibility of a one-year delay to the opening of the event, reaffirming Expo 2020’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.’’
Bring out the best of humanity
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."
Sergio Segovia, 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."
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World said, "DP World is working resolutely to keep trade flowing around the world through the crisis, so the countries in which we operate continue to be supplied with food, medicine and other vital goods. We are doing so by putting the highest priority on the health and safety of our people and communities. We support the proposal to postpone Expo 2020 and DP World looks forward to opening our pavilion in 2021 where we will show how keeping trade flowing will help the world continue to recover from the crisis."
Sergio Maccotta, Senior Vice President, Middle East South for SAP, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Premier Innovative Enterprise Software Partner, said, "SAP expresses support for Expo 2020 Dubai and its Steering Committee exploring options with the Bureau International des Expositions to postpone the event by a year and ensure the health and wellbeing of the millions of expected visitors and participants. SAP remains firmly committed as Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Premier Innovative Enterprise Software Partner and we will continue to co-innovate to deliver personalised experiences for the event."
Thierry Sabbagh, Managing Director of Nissan Middle East, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Premier Automotive Partner, said, "The decision also reflects the great sense of global citizenship embodied by Expo 2020 Dubai itself. This proposed delay will be viewed as an opportunity by all partners to come back together even stronger and deliver a truly world-class experience that millions of visitors will be able to celebrate in the true sense of safety, security and friendship that the UAE has always prided itself on."
Siemens, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Premier Infrastructure Digitalisation Partner, stated, "We fully support the Expo 2020 Dubai Steering Committee to explore a postponement of the event. It’s the right decision to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those working on the project, and means the whole world can join together when it opens its doors. We will continue working to create one of the smartest cities in the world, and look forward to seeing you all in 2021."
Eugene Willemsen, CEO, Africa, Middle East and South Asia at PepsiCo, Expo 2020 Dubai’s Official Premier Beverage and Snack Partner, said, "In light of the tragic circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand and support the Expo 2020 organizers and the steering committee’s decision to explore postponing this mega event. We remain firmly committed to #Expo2020 #Dubai and look forward to helping deliver an exceptional World Expo at the right time. At PepsiCo, we recognize that now, more than ever, it is critical to focus on the fundamental human values that unite us across nations."
The BIE will now work with its member states and Expo 2020 to determine new dates. A final decision on postponement can only be made by the BIE’s General Assembly, requiring a two-thirds majority vote from the member states.
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 worldwide solidarity. Such an event, which will see 192 nations come together, supported by Expo 2020’s partners and providers, to work towards a brighter future, will be needed more than ever.