World EXPO 2020, which was supposed to start in Dubai this autumn, will be postponed for a year and take place from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.
In order not to be too hasty with the event preparations under the difficult situation of the quarantine, at the beginning of the pandemic, the organisers requested to have it postponed for a year. With a green light for the postponement from the representatives of the states-participants, the Government of the United Arab Emirates addressed the Bureau of International Exhibitions, which coordinates the World Expos. The decision of changing the dates that have already been announced requires two third votes of the states, which have ratified the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions. Since it is impossible to host a General Assembly, the Bureau of International Exhibitions decided to conduct the voting procedure by diplomatic letters that the member states are supposed to submit until 29 May this year. However, despite the fact that the final and official decision will be announced after this date, it is becoming clear that since the decision has already been approved by more than one hundred states (or more than two thirds of the states, holding the voting right, including Lithuania), it will be adopted automatically as soon as the voting term is over. The change of the date does not mean the change in the title – the event will continue to be referred to as EXPO 2020, also retaining the same theme of ‘Connecting the Minds, Creating the Future’, which, the organisers believe, will become as relevant as ever under the new circumstances.
The Word Expo, which will take place after a bit more than a year, should encourage positive change, so much needed in the world. Another reason, why the event is postponed for so long, is the climatic conditions – this type of event could take place from autumn until early spring. However, this time it will start on 1 October instead of 20 October and continue until 31 March instead of 10 April, when the Islamic world will start the Ramadan of 2022. The change of the opening and closing days will make the Expo ten days longer and in the course of the event – 2 December 2021 – the United Arab Emirates will celebrate its golden anniversary of 50 years since the establishment of the state.
In terms of more practical advantages of the postponement, this decision will make it easier for the states organising and participating at the event to deal with the challenges, posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, have all the works completed on time, as well as build more interesting pavilions that represent these complex times. Hopefully, restrictions on travelling, visiting public places, participating at events and other aspects that could wreak the successful course of the Expo will be softened or even lifted. The majority of the general objects of the exhibition (thematic pavilions, infrastructure, Expo Village, etc.) are already completed and the pavilions of the state-participants are expected to be completed and temporarily conserved by the end of this year.
Our country’s preparations for this event is coordinated and organised by the Ministry of the Environment. According to Romas Jankauskas, Head of the Exhibitions Division and Commissioner General of the Lithuanian pavilion at the World Expo, the construction of our pavilion in Dubai is going on according to plan. The wooden constructions (Jūrės Medis), which will decorate our pavilion and modern solar panels (Solitek) are already produced and ready to be shipped to Dubai, with the furniture (Narbutas) underway and the tender for the exposition already in progress. The previously announced competition for the pavilion staff and the selection of the commercial operator will continue after the quarantine.