Preparations for the next World Expo are “solidly on track”, according to Manal AlBayat, Senior Vice-President of Expo 2020 Dubai, who presented a progress report to the 162nd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) on 15 November 2017.

Manal AlBayat, Senior Vice-President of Expo 2020 Dubai

Coming less than one month after the second International Participants’ Meeting, which gathered over 500 delegates from 180 countries, Ms AlBayat presented delegates with an overview of the Expo’s progress and activities. In addition to the continued development of the Expo site and elaboration of “immersive content”, Expo 2020 Dubai is “continuing to build awareness and excitement both at home and internationally.”

More than 150 countries have already confirmed their participation in the next World Expo, according to Ms. AlBayat, who added that Organisers are looking forward to receiving further commitments. She informed delegates that the first participating countries are expected to be on the ground by the time of the next General Assembly, in mid-2018.

Regarding Expo 2020 Dubai’s engagement programmes, delegates heard that promotional road shows have reached more than 24,000 students in the past year. The Expo Live programme is already having an impact, with 45 applicants from 30 countries having already received grants as ‘Expo Live Global Innovators’. In addition, Expo 2020’s procurement activities are gaining pace, with over 18,000 companies from 131 countries having signed up to work with Expo Organisers.

The economic, social, reputational and physical legacy of Expo 2020 “has been at the forefront of our planning from the very earliest stages”, according to Ms. AlBayat, who presented the General Assembly with post-Expo plans in the form of District 2020. This neighbourhood, which will be a place to “live, work and play”, will exemplify the new definition of the urban experience.