File photo: A woman walks past the logo of the Expo 2020 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 3, 2017. (Reuters)
Expo 2020 Dubai convened on Thursday a virtual Steering Committee meeting of representatives of the countries that are taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai to consult on the impact that COVID-19 is having on their preparations for Expo 2020 Dubai, which is due to open in October.
“As hosts of the next World Expo, due to open in seven months’ time, we always knew that 2020 was going to be demanding. What we could not predict is that we would be doing so in the midst of the biggest global health crisis in generations. These are difficult, uncertain times, which makes it even more heartening to see communities around the world facing this challenge together and to witness the incredible resilience of the human spirit against a menace that does not recognise international borders or timelines”, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Reem Al Hashimy said.
She added that the discussion that held today was an opportunity to reassure Expo 2020 participants on the measures that have been put into place in the UAE, to listen to their issues, and to look for ways that could be followed to provide tangible, meaningful support.
“ Our immediate priority 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 precautions to manage and mitigate risk to all those involved”, she added.
According to a statement released on Thursday, UAE has taken a range of robust, precautionary 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 closely monitoring ongoing developments and has committed to adjusting planned preparations, as changing circumstances require.
Secretary General of the BIE welcomed Expo 2020 Dubai’s initiative Dimitri Kerkentzes said that gravity of the situation and the impact that it is having in countries around the world cannot be ignored, especially that World Expos are inherently global and inclusive events.
“For almost 170 years they have brought countries and people together to celebrate 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 a global effort from the 192 countries taking part in Expo 2020 Dubai. We continue working with the organisers 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 assistance to those who need it, and will, I believe, contribute to the successful delivery of this mega event” he added.
The group will reconvene in the coming weeks to re-assess the situation and plan accordingly, according the statement, adding that 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.