The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held its 162nd General Assembly in Paris on 14-15 November 2017. Delegates representing the 170 Member States of the BIE attended the meeting.

The General Assembly featured reports by Organisers of past and upcoming Expos, as well as the formal recognition of Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere and the flag handing-over ceremony. The meeting was also an opportunity for the Triennale di Milano to develop on its plans for the 22nd edition of the exhibition, and for candidates for World Expo 2025 and Specialised Expo 2022/23 to present their bid projects to delegates. This was followed by the election of the host country for Specialised Expo 2022/23, and by elections for the Presidency of the BIE General Assembly as well as for its committees.

World Expos

Manal Albayat, the Senior Vice President of Expo 2020 Dubai, presented delegates with a progress report for the next World Expo. Following the second International Participants Meeting (IPM) in October 2017, Ms. Albayat informed delegates that 150 countries have already confirmed participation in the Expo. The Expo’s physical legacy project – District 2020 – was presented to the General Assembly, as well as updates of Organisers’ engagement programmes including Expo Live.

Manal Albayat, Senior Vice President of Expo 2020 Dubai

Concerning the bidding process for the following World Expo, due to take place in 2025, France (Greater Paris), Japan (Osaka), Russia (Ekaterinburg) and Azerbaijan (Baku) each presented their bid projects. These presentations come after the submission of the bid dossiers, and before the Enquiry Missions, which will be carried out in early 2018.

Specialised Expos

Following the closing ceremony of Specialised Expo 2017 Astana on 10 September, Expo Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev and Chairman Akhmetzhan Yessimov presented delegates with an overview of the Expo and the impact it has had in Kazakhstan. Describing the Expo as “a lively page in the history of our country”, Mr. Yessimov thanked all participating countries, commissioners and the BIE for contributing to its success.

Expo 2017 Astana Commissioner, Rapil Zhoshybayev

Regarding the next Specialised Expo, the three candidates (Poland, the United States and Argentina) gave their final presentation to delegates before Member States voted for the host country.

Horticultural Expos

Delegates were presented with a report from the Organisers of Horticultural Expo 2019 Beijing, represented by the Commissioner General of the Expo, Wang Jinzhen, the Deputy Mayor of Beijing, Lu Yan, and the Deputy Secretary of the China Flower Association, Peng Hongming. Mr. Wang stated that “great strides” have been made in preparing the Expo site since the 161st General Assembly, and Mr. Lu told the General Assembly that the Expo will be a “platform allowing China and countries from across the world to engage in dialogue and pragmatic cooperation in the construction of ecological civilization.”

Deputy Mayor of Beijing, Lu Yan

The General Assembly granted formal recognition to Floriade Expo 2022 Amsterdam-Almere, the next International Horticultural Exhibition to take place after Expo 2019 Beijing. The seventh Horticultural Expo to be organised in the Netherlands will take place between 28 April and 23 October 2022 under the theme “Growing Green Cities.” To mark this step, the Mayor of Almere, Franc Weerwind, and the General Director of Floriade Expo 2022, Jannewietske de Vries, received the BIE flag in the presence of the Ambassador of the Netherlands to France, H.E. Pieter de Gooijer.  

Delegation from the Netherlands receiving the BIE flag

Triennale di Milano

Following a presentation at the 161st General Assembly, the Director General of the Triennale di Milano Andrea Cancellato informed delegates that the final theme chosen for the 22nd edition is “Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival”, and indicated that the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs has requested formal recognition by the BIE. The General Curator of the 22nd Triennale di Milano, Paola Antonelli, stated that the aim of the next edition would be to highlight design approaches that can “replenish our exchange with the natural context we were born in.”

General Curator of the 22nd Triennale di Milano, Paola Antonelli


To determine the host country of Specialised Expo 2022/23, Member States voted in two rounds, via secret ballot, after hearing presentations from the three candidates. Argentina and Poland received 46 votes each in the first round, while the United States received 25 votes. In the second round, Argentina was elected host country of Specialised Expo 2023 with 62 votes compared to 56 for Poland.


Elections were also held to the Presidency of the General Assembly of the BIE, and to determine the composition of each of the BIE’s four Committees, as well as their respective chairpersons. Steen Christensen (Denmark) was re-elected as President of the General Assembly for a second two-year term. H.E. Jai-chul Choi (Republic of Korea) was re-elected Chairman of the Executive Committee, Alain Berger (France) was re-elected Chairman of the Rules Committee, and H.E. Albina Pereira Africano (Angola) was re-elected Chairwoman of the Administration and Budget Committee. H.E. Murat Ersavci (Turkey) was elected Chairman of the Information and Communication Committee, replacing outgoing Chairman H.E. Claude Cottalorda (Monaco).

Each term lasts for two years, and one Member State may serve up to two terms on the same Committee. The full list of the members of each Committee can be accessed here.

More news to follow on all presentations made at the 162nd General Assembly.