Expo 2020 site
An aerial view taken after the recent crowning of Al Wasl dome shows the progress of construction at the Expo 2020 site in Dubai. Image Credit: Reuters

Dubai: A formal postponement of Expo 2020 Dubai has been filed by the UAE Government to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) with new dates being proposed of October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, it was announced by the BIE on Saturday.

A statement on the BIE website read, "The Government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has formally requested the postponement of World Expo 2020 Dubai in a letter addressed to Dimitri S. Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

"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 consultations with the BIE, participating countries and key stakeholders, the UAE has proposed 1 October 2021 – 31 March 2022 as the new opening dates of Expo 2020 Dubai. The letter also specifies that should the Member States approve the change of dates for Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE Government requests approval to continue using “Expo 2020 Dubai” as the official name of the event.

The BIE said it would hold a virtual meeting on April 21 to discuss "options for a change of dates".

Any decision on date changes can only be made by a two-thirds majority of BIE member states, according to article 28 of the 1928 Paris Convention following recommendation of the Executive Committee. 

A statement from an Expo 2020 Dubai spokesperson issued to Gulf News, stated, "Further to this week’s agreement by the Steering Committee to explore options for a postponement, the Bureau of International Expositions has confirmed that a decision will be made by the Executive Committee meeting on 21 April and by two-thirds majority vote of BIE Member States.

"The BIE will consider a proposed change of dates for Expo 2020 Dubai, beginning 1 October 2021 and running to 31 March 2022, as formally requested by the UAE Government."