DUBAI – Twenty-nine countries signed official participation contracts at the International Participants Meeting (IPM) of Expo 2020 Dubai – an “incredible milestone” on the way to the next World Expo, according to organisers.
The signatories, which included Switzerland, Oman, and Bahrain, are among more than 150 countries that have already confirmed their intent to take part in letters to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
The official participation contract is the next stage on the road to Expo 2020 Dubai for national participants. It is signed by a country once details such as the size and location of the plot for their national pavilion and their theme have been agreed with Expo 2020 Dubai.
The signing ceremonies took place during the IPM on Thursday. More than 500 representatives from countries across the world attended the meeting, which was the largest gathering of potential Expo 2020 Dubai national participants to date.
The meeting brought together nations that have already committed to Expo 2020 plus those that are still considering participation. They were briefed about progress and plans for Expo, as well as the benefits of taking part.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau Director General, said: “Over the course of the International Participants Meeting, Expo 2020 Dubai became even more a World Expo.
“It was an incredible milestone in which we learned from each other and about each other and an opportunity for us to show the world all that has been achieved in the last 18 months.
“It was also a forum for nations to learn more, understand more, and contribute more; working together alongside us to fulfil the true potential of Expo 2020 Dubai.
“And I am delighted that our 2020 World Expo family has grown, with 15 additional countries publicly announcing their participation and a further 29 signing contracts of participation.
“In a world where all too often we focus on differences, this feels to me like a powerful statement of the importance of cooperation and collaboration. Of Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.”
The IPM was organised with the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the governing body of World Expos. It is held at intervals to update BIE member nations and other countries on Expo 2020 Dubai.
The 15 countries that publicly announced their intent to take part in the Expo during the IPM included the U.S. and Malaysia.
Dimitri Kerkentzes, Deputy Secretary General of BIE, said: “We are very grateful to Expo 2020 Dubai for having hosted such an informative and collaborative participants meeting.
“The response from all delegates was extremely positive and we expect many more countries to sign up for this historic World Expo after hearing about the plans.”
The countries that signed official participation contracts at the IPM were: Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Grenada, Guinea, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Oman, Nauru, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Soloman Islands, Somalia, Switzerland, Togo, Tuvalu, and Yemen.
They join Luxembourg, which became the first country to formally sign earlier this month when a delegation that included His Royal Highness Prince Guillaume, Crown Prince of Luxembourg, and Her Royal Highness Princess Stéphanie, Crown Princess of Luxembourg, visited Dubai.
More than 200 participants, including countries, multilateral organisations, corporations and educational institutions, are expected to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai.
It will be a celebration for all, which, through its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, will provide a platform to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration. This is underpinned by three subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
The Expo runs for six months from 20 October 2020 and is expected to attract 25 million visits, with 70 percent coming from outside of the UAE, an unprecedented proportion in the 166-year history of World Expos.