A tribute to Ambassador Wu Jianmin (1939-2016)

Ambassador Wu Jianmin (1939-2016)

It is with great sadness that the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) has learnt that its Honorary President, Ambassador Wu Jianmin, died in a car accident on 18 June 2016. A seasoned Chinese diplomat whose career spanned 57 years, Ambassador Wu served as President of the BIE for two terms between 2003 and 2007.

Ambassador Wu’s engagement in Expos, which started when China launched its successful bid to host Expo 2010 in Shanghai, epitomised his diplomatic style which favoured cultural understanding and multilateral cooperation for the advancement of mankind. As the first President of the BIE from Asia and from a developing country, Ambassador Wu actively supported efforts for Expos to be organised in the developing world, and was strident in his support for the role that Expos play in the betterment of the world and the well-being of humanity.

Ambassador Wu was an advocate of dialogue and understanding in international politics, which stemmed from his first job within the Chinese Foreign Ministry as a translator for political leaders. Throughout his career he continued to be an ardent supporter of multilateralism and fostering cultural ties between nations, a belief that he put to the service of Expos. For him, “Expos belong to the whole world. People from different countries talk to each other, learn from each other, make friends, and pave the way for cooperation. This is wonderful” (Expo 2005 Aichi, closing ceremony). It was by putting this vision into practice that Ambassador Wu made such an impression on his contemporaries – by talking to them, learning from them and making friends with them.

Even after stepping down as President of the BIE, Ambassador Wu continued to play an active role in Expos, remaining as Honorary President and serving on the BIE international jury at Expo 2008 in Zaragoza, Expo 2010 in Shanghai, Expo 2012 in Yeosu and most recently at Expo 2015 in Milan. He also remained active in diplomatic circles, becoming the head of the Beijing Foreign Affairs University, known as the ‘cradle of diplomats’, and continuing to speak in favour of openness and cooperation between nations.

Wu Jianmin will be deeply missed by BIE members and staff, and by many others who had the chance to work with him during his long involvement with Expos. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.

159th General Assembly: Expo updates and bid announcement

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held its 159th General Assembly in Paris on 15 June 2016. Delegates representing the 169 Member States of the BIE attended the meeting. Reports were submitted by the Presidents of the four BIE committees (Executive, Administration & Budget, Rules, Information & Communication), and progress reports on current and upcoming Expos were presented to the General Assembly.

A special delegation from the Republic of Poland, led by Piotr Gliński, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Culture and National Heritage, also attended the General Assembly.

Mr. Gliński personally handed a letter of candidature to the Secretary General of the BIE, Vicente G. Loscertales, containing Poland’s bid to organise the Specialised Expo 2022 in the city of Łódź. He declared to the General Assembly that “the Republic of Poland intends to join this cluster of Expo organisers.” The mayor of Łódź, Hanna Zdanowska, also informed the General Assembly that the Expo project is a unique opportunity for the city.

The Secretary General of the BIE, Vicente G. Loscertales, receiving the letter of candidature from Poland

The bidding process for the Specialised Expo 2022/23 has now started, and other interested host countries have until 15 December 2016 to submit their own bids. The General Assembly also heard about the preparations for the next Specialised Expo, which will take place in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, in 2017. Construction work on the site is set to be complete by November 2016, and Expo Commissioner Rapil Zhoshybayev stated that organisers are in the final stages of confirming international participation.

A planning update of Expo 2020 Dubai was delivered by Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State of the UAE for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau. In her first General Assembly address since Expo 2020 was formally registered in November 2015, Reem Al Hashimy presented the Masterplan and developed on the Expo’s themes and subthemes.

The General Assembly was also informed about the activities and plans of current and upcoming horticultural Expos: Expo 2016 Antalya and Expo 2019 Beijing. The delegation from Antalya announced that the Expo site had welcomed 437,939 visitors and sold over 1.7 million tickets as of 8 June 2016. Meanwhile, the Chinese delegation announced that invitations for international participants will soon be launched via diplomatic channels.

The organisers of the XX1 Triennale di Milano, which opened on 1 April 2016, told the General Assembly that the international exhibition, which is taking place in 19 different venues across Milan, had received 258,742 visitors as of 31 May.

More news to follow on all presentations made at the 159th General Assembly.

Republic of Poland submits bid for Specialised Expo 2022

The Republic of Poland submitted today a formal letter of candidature to the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) to organise the Specialised Expo 2022 in the city of Łódź. This is the first bid to host the Expo, which will be the next Specialised Expo to be held after Expo 2017 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, organised under the theme ‘Future Energy’.

Specialised Expos, known officially as International Recognised Exhibitions, are organised every five years, between each World Expo. They can last up to three months and are designed to respond to a specific challenge facing humanity. The most recent Specialised Expo was held in the city of Yeosu in the Republic of Korea in 2012, which attracted over 8 million visitors under the theme ‘The Living Ocean and Coast’.

Lodz 2022

Poland’s candidature for Łódź is based on the theme of ‘City Re:Invented’, and the Expo would open on 15 June 2022 and close on 15 September 2022, should the bid obtain the vote of the majority of members of the BIE.

Following this first submission by Poland, all other countries wishing to organise the same Expo now have six months to submit their own bids, with the final deadline being 15 December 2016 at 6pm (Paris time). Once the list is closed, the project examination phase of the bidding process will be launched, including the submission of bid dossiers, BIE Enquiry Missions, forums and a vote by the 169 Member States to decide on the host country when the General Assembly of the BIE meets in November 2017.

The Secretary General of the BIE, Vicente G. Loscertales, welcomed the bid, commenting that “by submitting this letter, Poland is officially opening the candidature phase for the Specialised Expo to be held in 2022/23, which gives other interested host countries six months to submit their bids before the candidate list is closed.”

Poland is a founding member of the BIE, although it left the organisation between 1950 and 1960. The country has never hosted an Expo, but it has actively participated in many World and Specialised Expos. Łódź is located 135km south-west of Warsaw, and is Poland’s third largest city with a population of over 700,000.

Will Azerbaijan bid for Expo 2025?

Upon request from the Government of Azerbaijan, a delegation from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) carried out a visit to Baku on 2-3 June 2016 in order to discuss the modalities of a potential bid for World Expo 2025.

The Secretary General of the BIE, Vicente G. Loscertales, met with Abulfas Garayev, the Minister for Culture and Tourism of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and with Anar Alakbarov, the Executive Director of the Haydar Aliyev Foundation. The discussions focused on the process to follow to submit a candidacy as well as the regulations governing the preparation and execution of a World Expo. Also known as “registered exhibitions”, World Expos take place every five years and last for up to six months. The last World Expo took place in Milan in 2015, while BIE member states have elected Dubai to host the next World Expo in 2020.


In accordance with BIE regulations, the government of a country wishing to organise a World Expo can only submit its candidature a maximum of nine years and a minimum of six years before the opening date of that Expo, but once a candidate files its bid to the BIE for an Expo, the other candidates have a maximum of six months to state their intention to compete for the same Expo.

Azerbaijan has been a member of the BIE since 2008, but its first Expo participation since independence was at Expo 2000 in Hannover. The Azerbaijani pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan, which focused around the country’s status as a meeting point between East and West, was dubbed ‘Treasure of Biodiversity’ and attracted over 3 million visitors.

Situated on the edge of the Caspian Sea, Baku is the largest city in the Caucasus region with a population of 2.1 million. The city hosted the inaugural European Games in 2015 and it has been selected as one of the 13 hosts for the the UEFA Euro 2020 football championship.

Dubai hosts first IPM ahead of Expo 2020

The first International Planning Meeting (IPM) opened today in Dubai ahead of the next World Expo that is being held there in 2020. The two-day meeting, held on 23-24 May 2016, is being attended by representatives from 132 countries and organisations, demonstrating the high level of interest in the Expo four and a half years before its opening.

International Planning Meeting, Expo 2020 Dubai

This meeting, which is the first of several IPMs to be organised annually in the years leading up to the opening of the World Expo, allows the host country to present its plans and discuss the progress of the Expo’s organisation. It gathers representatives from Expo 2020 Dubai, members of the Government of the UAE, officials from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) and international stakeholders who are interested in taking part in the Expo.

For the first time since Expo 2020 Dubai was officially registered in November 2015, interested participants have a common platform to exchange with organisers on the Expo’s themes and masterplan, raising any questions they may have. Expo 2020 Dubai is also presenting the Expo Live programme, which over the next four years will seek out and connect the innovators of tomorrow. The programme will support the development of solutions to major challenges facing humanity, with the results to be presented at the Expo.

Reem Al Hashimy, the Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai and UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation

The opening speakers included Reem Al Hashimy, the Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai and UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Vicente G. Loscertales, the Secretary General of the BIE. Mr. Loscertales declared that as construction begins at the Expo site, “this IPM is the first step in the development of a community of countries engaged around the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, laying the foundations for a successful and insightful World Expo in 2020.”

Expo 2020 Dubai will take place between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021, with visit numbers expected to reach 25 million. In April 2016, Switzerland was the first country to confirm its participation in the Expo.

Expo Antalya 2016 opening marked by ceremony and spectacle

The 2016 Horticultural Expo, which has “Flowers and Children” as its theme, officially opened today in the Turkish city of Antalya. The opening ceremony took place at the Expo site in Aksu, in the presence of the Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), Vicente G. Loscertales, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH), Bernard Oosterom.

Ministers and ambassadors were among those who took part in the official opening, which included the raising of the flags of all participant countries. The event served to kick start Expo 2016 before it opens its gates to the public tomorrow, on 23 April. Over 1 million tickets have already been sold, with Expo organisers expecting 8 million visitors over its six-month duration.

2016 antalya night

The ceremony included speeches by President Erdoğan, the Secretary General of the BIE Vicente G. Loscertales, Bernard Oosterom and members of the Turkish Government. Attendees also visited the Country Gardens and Expo Peony Terrace for the Expo’s opening show. The multi-sensory spectacle took place on the Expo Lake, and included sound, light, water and dance shows.

2016 ceremonie ouverture LOSCERTALES copie

“I am confident that the Expo will prove to be a star attraction in Antalya over the next six months, with people travelling from all over the world to visit, and that it will provide a lasting legacy to citizens and tourists in the years to come”, commented Vicente G. Loscertales. The Secretary General of the BIE added that the involvement of children in the Expo will “inspire the next generation to support sustainable development and strengthen ecological consciousness”. Over 50 international participants are present at the Antalya Horticultural Expo 2016.

BIE visits Expo 2020 Dubai

The BIE has carried out its first visit to the UAE since Expo 2020 Dubai was formally registered in November 2015. The Secretary General of the BIE, Vicente G. Loscertales, visited the Expo site office as part of a two-day BIE Technical Meeting held on 12-13 April 2016.

Since BIE registration in November 2015, the Expo 2020 Dubai team has been able to start preparatory work on the 438-hectare Expo site in Dubai South. The Secretary General stated that he was looking forward to seeing the development of the Expo site, adding that he was “impressed with the rapid progress that has already been made” since its registration.

Dubai 2020

The two-day Technical Meeting allowed the BIE and the host country to review the status of participation, regulations, and details of the preparation process including the Expo 2020 Master Plan, thematic guidelines and self-build guidelines for participants. Discussions also included a review of the Expo’s local engagement plans, notably regarding youth and business.

BIE members elected the UAE as Expo 2020 host in November 2013, and officially registered Dubai as the host city at the organisation’s 158th General Assembly in November 2015. The Expo will take place between 20 October 2020 and 21 April 2021 under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

International Participants Meet in Antalya ahead of Expo 2016

The International Participants' Meeting (IPM) of Horticultural Expo 2016 Antalya took place on 5 April 2016 in Antalya. The meeting brought together 92 representatives from 41 countries.

2016 antalya

This IPM was a platform of discussions between the host country and participants, in order to exchange on the final developments a few weeks before the opening of Expo 2016 Antalya on 23 April 2016.

Latest developments regarding the opening ceremony, cultural activities including national days, best practices and B2B (business-to-business) were addressed during the meeting. Participants also received practical information on the logistics of the Expo ahead of its opening.

2016 Antalya

This IPM provided the opportunity for participants to visit the 112-hectare nearly completed exhibition site, which notably includes Turkey’s first Museum of Agriculture and Biodiversity, a 110.7-metre Expo Tower symbolizing Hadrian’s Gate, Turkey’s largest congress centre and a Biodiversity Theme Track for children.

To date, around 50 countries have confirmed their participation to Expo 2016, which is expected to draw eight million visits during its six-month duration. Expo 2016 Antalya has “Flowers and Children” as its theme, with its subthemes being History, Biodiversity, Sustainability and Green Cities.

Expo 2020 Dubai unveils new logo

A ring found at a 4,000-year-old archaeological site in the desert in the Al Marmum area of Dubai, is the inspiration behind the new Expo 2020 Dubai logo.

The winning design was revealed by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, at a grand event held at the Dubai Fountain, as the logo was displayed on the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.
“The design of the logo is inspired by a civilisation that existed 4,000 years ago in an area extending from Baynounah in Abu Dhabi to Saroug Al Hadeed in Dubai and from Maliha Valley in Sharjah to the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah,” explained Sheikh Mohammed.
“This land connected ancient civilisations and we will continue to be a hub that connects the world.”
A competition to create the official logo for Expo 2020 was originally launched last year, attracting 19,000 participants.

Entrants were expected to create a design that reflects the main theme of the event: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. All entries were reviewed by a panel of design experts, while the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee created a shortlist of finalists.

During the event, Dubai’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Hamdan Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, honoured the three finalists of the competition to design the logo: Mohammad Suhail Bin Ali from Tunisia, Mouza Al Mansouri from the UAE and Valerii IInitski from Moldova.

Astana holds 2nd International Participants Meeting

The two-day Second International Participants Meeting (IPM) of Expo 2017 Astana opened today in the capital of Kazakhstan.

The Second Meeting brings together more than 270 representatives of 102 countries and international organisations.

IPMs are organised annually during the years leading to the opening of an International or World Exhibition. These annual meetings are a key stepping stone in the organisation of any Expo: the most important meeting and sharing opportunity for the host country, participants and the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).

2017 astana ipm 03

The latest developments, from the construction of the site to the content of the exhibition with the Theme plan and of the selection of best practices, are being addressed and discussed with the participants. This 2nd Expo 2017 IPM is a critical step since it gives both the Organisers and the Participants the opportunity to clarify and exchange on all outstanding issues.
According to the different presentations, various preparation works, such as the construction of the Expo Site, the preparations of Astana city, the Expo operational and activity plans are progressing in an intense and orderly way.

2017 astana ipm 05

In his introductory speech, the Secretary General of the BIE, Mr. Vicente G. Loscertales, stressed the fact that Expo preparations and implementations mean "shared responsibility". He noted that "the real strength of Expos lies in the interdependence between participants and organisers to create together an incredible experience for all".

2017 astana ipm 04

Expo 2017 is expected to draw five million visits during its three-month duration. It will coincide with Astana’s 20th anniversary, the nation’s capital. Under the theme « Future Energy », Expo 2017 Astana will promote efforts to find sustainable energy solutions to meet growing global demand.