x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Four-month wait until next crucial stage of Dubai expo bid

The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will meet in June to discuss bid reports from each of the competing countries.

DUBAI // The next crucial stage of the UAE's Expo 2020 bid will unfold in four months' time, when the enquiry committee presents its reports on all five bidding countries.

The General Assembly of the BIE (or Bureau International des Expositions), is a multinational group with representatives from 163 countries that meets in Paris to oversee the selection of the Expo host nations.

It will meet in June to consider the mission reports from each of the competing countries - the UAE, Thailand, Brazil, Russia and Turkey.

"For each enquiry mission report, the General Assembly normally follows the recommendations made by the executive committee about whether or not the country fulfils the BIE requirements," said Steen Christensen, the BIE vice president.

"And for each country it's either a yes or a no vote. If it's a no, that particular country is then out of the race and if it's a yes, it can continue its campaign."

Mr Christensen said the enquiry committee never compares competing projects during its inspections. Its sole purpose is to evaluate the bid presented by each country to check it can deliver what is promised.

Its mandate is to validate the facts and concepts provided in the bid dossier and assess the level of national support.

The UAE's 600-page bid dossier covered technical questions on anticipated financial costs, expected visitor numbers, worldwide promotion and long-term plans for the proposed site.

After the verdict on the bids has been delivered in June, it is then up to the would-be host nations to lobby as many governments as possible to back the bid.

"Supposing the UAE passes the [June] test, then it's up to the UAE and the other candidate countries to convince not the enquiry mission but a sufficient majority of the member states that you have the best project," said Mr Christensen.

"Once we have given in our report, then the role of the mission has ended and we go back  to what we are in our normal daily life - BIE delegates representing our country," he said.

"We'll receive instruction on how to vote in November from our ministers, so it's for you to persuade my minister and the other countries ministers. At the general assembly, it's one country, one vote."

If all five contenders receive a yes in June, the voting will proceed in four rounds. The country with the lowest number of votes will be knocked out in round one. All member states will then vote for one of the remaining four, then again for one of the remaining three until there are only two nations left to choose from.

The factors influencing the vote at this stage, according to Vicente Loscertales, the BIE secretary general, could include the power of the expo theme, the investment potential, the effect on the country and the region.

rtalwar@thenational.ae