Countdown to Expo 2020: United States joins growing list of participating nations
The United States and 14 other countries have announced they are participating in Expo 2020, bringing the number taking part close to 150.
The developments came at what organisers said was the biggest gathering of nations in the four years since Dubai won the expo bid.
About 180 countries, the number Dubai hopes will participate in Expo 2020, attended the International Participants Meeting in Dubai.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, attended.
The US has hosted two expos since the foundation of the Bureau International des Expositions, the governing body of world expos, in 1931. It is home to some of the greatest moments in world expo history. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World Expo in Seattle, while TV made its debut in New York in 1939.
Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau, said it had been a day of great progress.
Of the US decision she said: “We look forward to taking this further and to US corporations and organisations being a part of our journey to 2020 and beyond."
Among the other countries who announced their participation on Thursday are Austria, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican Republic and Mexico.
Participation by Austria forms part of a long history for the nation of taking part in world expos, which dates back to the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London. The UAE is Austria’s largest trading partner in the Gulf.
Richard Bandera, commercial counsellor of Advantage Austria, the international agency of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, said that Expo 2020 is going to be an incredible platform for dialogue.
“We are delighted to be joining Dubai on this remarkable and historic journey for the first world expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region and look forward to sharing our knowledge and abilities with the world," he said.
Expo 2020 will mark Bangladesh’s first independent pavilion at a world expo, which they will design and construct rather than having an assisted pavilion created with the help of the host city.
Muhammad Imran, Bangladesh’s ambassador to the UAE, said the goals of Expo 2020 match Bangladesh's which hopes to become a poverty-free nation of healthy citizens.
“We cannot think of a better place to demonstrate this to the world than Expo 2020 Dubai, which is being held in a country that has already demonstrated the importance and the impact of having a strong vision from its leaders," he said.
Preparations for Expo are already under way ahead of its opening on October 20, 2020 under the theme 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'. The expo site in Dubai South will include fountains, parks and a huge dome. It will also have its own metro station, with trains capable of transporting 23,000 passengers per hour per direction. To date, more than 7.4 million hours have been worked on site.
There are also well-developed legacy plans for the expo site. District 2020 was unveiled at Cityscape and it is thought that it could take six to nine months to repurpose the site into a residential and leisure destination, with sales expected to begin next year.
Meanwhile, the registration portal for the Expo 2020 Dubai Volunteers Programme will launch on Friday at The Beach at Jumeirah Beach Residence. Organisers said that 30,000 volunteers will be needed across 45 different roles, from welcoming guests to managing events. The event on Friday is celebrating the Three Years To Go mark.