Dubai convened on March 18th a virtual Steering Committee meeting of representatives of the countries participating in Expo 2020 Dubai to discuss on the effect that COVID-19 is having on their preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai, which is due to open in October this year.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai stated: “As hosts of the next World Expo, expected to open in seven months’ time, we usually knew that 2020 was going to be demanding. What we could not expect is that we would be doing so in the middle of the biggest international health issue in generations. These are challenging, uncertain times, which makes it even more heartening to see communities across the world facing this difficulty together and to witness the incredible resilience of the human spirit against a menace that does not recognize international borders or timelines. World Expos are aimed to be celebrations of our collective endeavour and achievement as humanity, and these times call for our solidarity and unity more than ever.
“This discussion with participants was a chance to reassure them on the measures that we have put into place in the UAE, to listen to their problems, and to look for ways that we can offer tangible, meaningful support at this difficult time, in the spirit of openness, collaboration and partnership that are at the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai. Our instant preference is the health and well-being of everyone involved in Expo 2020 Dubai, and this will not be compromised. Our monitoring of ongoing developments means we will take all sensible safety measures to manage and mitigate risk to all those involved.”
The UAE has taken a range of strong, safety measures to control the spread of COVID-19, and Expo 2020 has fully applied the latest guidance from the Dubai Health Authority, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the World Health Organization and other relevant bodies. In addition to this, Expo 2020 Dubai is deeply monitoring ongoing projects and has committed to adjusting planned preparations, as changing circumstances require.
Dimitri Kerkentzes, Secretary General of the BIE welcomed Expo 2020 Dubai’s initiative. “The gravity of the situation and the effect that it is having in countries across the globe cannot be ignored. World Expos are inherently international and inclusive events. For almost 170 years they have brought countries and people together to cherish the best of humanity, and the fruits of our innovation and collaboration, around a theme addressing global challenges. Putting on a World Expo, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic requires an international effort from the 192 countries participating in Expo 2020 Dubai. We continue working with the organizers and are confident in the steps that the UAE has taken to manage the spread of the virus and protect all those involved in the Expo. Expo 2020 Dubai’s pragmatic approach offers both reassurance and support to those who need it, and will, I believe, contribute to the successful delivery of this mega event.”
Manuel Salchli, Chairman of the Steering Committee, Comissioner General of Switzerland, stated: “We held a virtual meeting with Expo Organizers to talk about the impact of COVID-19. From a construction perspective, all countries are committed to finalizing their pavilions on site and will work in close coordination with Expo as they continue their dialogue in the coming weeks and adjust to the changing environment. Never before has the significance of human solidarity and human connectivity been as critical. We are all in this together and are steadfast in delivering an exceptional Expo in the UAE and for the world.”
The group will reconvene in the coming weeks to re-assess the situation and plan in accordance. Work continues at Expo 2020 Dubai, where Expo-led construction is complete, and International Participant Pavilions are being completed. Detailed operation plans are being finalized ahead of a series of tests scheduled for later this year.