Twenty-nine countries signed official participation contracts at the International Participants Meeting, IPM, of Expo 2020 Dubai – an "incredible milestone" on the way to the next World Expo, according to organisers.
The signatories, which included Switzerland, Oman, and Bahrain, are among more than 150 countries that have already confirmed their intent to take part in letters to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, said the Government of Dubai Media Office.
The official participation contract is the next stage on the road to Expo 2020 Dubai for national participants. It is signed by a country once details such as the size and location of the plot for their national pavilion and their theme have been agreed with Expo 2020 Dubai.
More than 500 representatives from countries across the world attended the meeting, which was the largest gathering of potential Expo 2020 Dubai national participants to date.
The meeting brought together nations that have already committed to Expo 2020 plus those that are still considering participation. They were briefed about progress and plans for Expo, as well as the benefits of taking part.
The IPM was organised with the Bureau International des Expositions, BIE, the governing body of World Expos. It is held at intervals to update BIE member nations and other countries on Expo 2020 Dubai.
The 15 countries that publicly announced their intent to take part in the Expo during the IPM included the US and Malaysia.
The countries that signed official participation contracts at the IPM were Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Grenada, Guinea, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liberia, Marshall Islands, Oman, Nauru, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Soloman Islands, Somalia, Switzerland, Togo, Tuvalu, and Yemen.
They join Luxembourg, which became the first country to formally sign earlier this month when a delegation visited Dubai.
More than 200 participants, including countries, multilateral organisations, corporations and educational institutions, are expected to take part in Expo 2020 Dubai.
It will be a celebration for all, which, through its theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, will provide a platform to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration. This is underpinned by three subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
The Expo runs for six months from 20th October 2020 and is expected to attract 25 million visits, with 70 percent coming from outside of the UAE, an unprecedented proportion in the 166-year history of World Expos.