The global pandemic has not impacted preparations for the Dubai Expo 2020, that will begin on October 1, 2021, and the construction of many pavilions has reached the final stage, Dimitri Kerkentzes, secretary-general of the Bureau of International des Expositions (BIE), said on Monday, August 24.
"The construction of all pavilions is progressing well and is in compliance with the safety regulations and barrier measures issued by the organisers, and will be hopefully completed by end of the year," said Kerkentzes.
He was speaking at the opening day of the three-day virtual Expo 2020 International Participants Meeting (IPM) that will discuss updates on site operations, facilities management, Expo 2020's events and programming calendar, and content related to marketing, communications and media services.
Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee; Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence and Commissioner-General of Expo 2020 Dubai; and Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General, Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau, also spoke at the virtual session.
Kerkentzes said that while the impact of Covid 19 is felt around the world globally, the UAE and all participating countries have demonstrated a strong will to work together in the common interest.
Delivering his keynote address, Sheikh Abdullah said that from its very inception, Expo 2020 has been so much more than just a six-month event.
"For us in the UAE, it is a journey that we share with the whole world. It connects us with others, who also want to share the joys and sorrows of this life with others."
"It is a journey of human solidarity, emanating from our existential need to live in stable cohesive societies that work for a brighter future to unleash the human potential within each one of us, regardless of race or belief."
He said though "our shared path may seem a little longer than we anticipated, I trust that we will reach our destination together, inspired by the perseverance of our frontline heroes, who have set the finest examples of combating one of humanity's greatest challenges today".
On his part, Sheikh Ahmed said: "The agility and responsiveness of Dubai and the UAE have been instrumental in the swift re-opening of the country's tourism sector. Coupled with its infrastructure and facilities, including airlines and hotels, Dubai has emerged quickly from what has been a challenging period for the whole world.
"Expo 2020 is aligned with Dubai and the UAE's commitment to building a brighter future and acting in solidarity with countries and communities around the world. We are delighted to join with our participants at the IPM to share updates, experiences and ideas as we continue to move forward together on our journey to Expo 2020."
Sheikh Nahayan said he is "excited by the potential of our collective efforts to learn, to grow, and to fulfill the mandate of our nations, and of the World Expo itself".
"While much has changed in the recent months, we are united in our ambitions, and empowered by the breadth and depth of our responsibilities. We will welcome the world, we will tell our stories to the world and together we will help build a better world."
The first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region, Expo 2020 will run for six months from October 1. 2021, until March 31, 2022. The event will coincide with the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the UAE, and highlight the country's role as a global connecting hub for people, ideas, and innovation.
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