Dubai was officially declared as the venue for the World Expo 2020 at the 158th General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in Paris on Wednesday.
The meeting of the 168-member governing body ratified the Expo 2020 registration document in the presence of Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who travelled to Paris along with members of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee for the historic announcement.
Following the endorsement by BIE, he said: “For two years we have worked tirelessly to plan and prepare for a truly exceptional World Expo in 2020. Today, the member nations of the BIE have officially endorsed these plans.”
Paying tribute to the global support that Dubai has received, Sheikh Ahmed said: “On behalf of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee and the people of the UAE, I want to thank the BIE and the international delegates for the great vote of trust they have bestowed upon our nation.”
He said this marked the start of the next chapter in Dubai’s journey to 2020 and a new phase of increased activity.
“There is no time to rest. Now is the time for us to translate our vision into reality, as we deliver an Expo that will inspire the world to come together and begin to solve some of our most pressing global challenges,” he added.
The Expo 2020 Registration Document, which was officially submitted to the BIE for review in July, was the result of comprehensive research and rigorous planning, and provided detailed information about the mega-event, including the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, the site masterplan, participant and visitor engagement strategies, communications and marketing, business operations, sustainability and the post-event legacy.
To mark Dubai’s formal appointment, Sheikh Ahmed was presented with the official BIE flag by the governing body’s president Nagy.
Also in attendance were Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, the director-general of Ruler’s Court of Dubai, CEO of Investment Corporation of Dubai and vice chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee; Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and director-general of Bureau Dubai Expo 2020; Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the chairman of Adnec; Hussain Nasser Lootah, the director-general of Dubai Municipality; Major General Khamis Mutar Al Muzainah, the chief commander of Dubai Police; Mattar Mohammed Al Tayer, the chairman and executive director of the Roads and Transport Authority; Helal Saeed Al Marri, the director-general of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre; and Khalifa Al Zaffin, the executive chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation.
Loscertales, the BIE secretary-general, said: "As the first World Expo to take place in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, we look forward to what we believe will be a meaningful moment in history, not only for this young nation and the BIE, but also for the wider region and indeed, the world."
"Dubai has presented a compelling vision, and detailed plans to ensure its realisation. We will continue to support and work alongside the Expo 2020 team over the next five years as these ideas are turned into reality," he added.
In moving from the planning to delivery phase, activity will increase to include formal engagement with international participants, including nations, corporations, multilateral organisations, NGOs and academic institutions.
This next phase will also see the continuation and extension of existing stakeholder initiatives, both domestic and international, including the current series of BusinessConnect workshops, the annual Youth Connect event, and ongoing dialogue with young entrepreneurs, regional SMEs and global thought leaders.
Opening its gates to the world on October 20, the Expo 2020 Dubai will be the most international and inclusive event in its history, welcoming more than 25 million visitors and more than 200 participants over its six-month duration. The vast majority of visitors (some 70 per cent) are expected to come from overseas.
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