Countries participating in Expo 2020 Dubai are united in their commitment to hosting a World Expo that builds bridges, inspires action and delivers real-life solutions to global challenges – that is the message from delegates attending the sixth International Participations Meeting (IPM), which ended on Wednesday.

Convening for the final IPM before the 1 October opening of Expo 2020 – one of the first mega-events to take place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – they expressed unwavering support and enthusiasm for the six-month global gathering, which they see as an essential launch pad towards building a better world for everyone.

More than 370 delegates travelled from around the world to attend the IPM in person, held 4-5 May at Dubai Exhibition Centre (DEC), Expo 2020 Dubai, to see first-hand Expo 2020’s advanced state of readiness. They represented 173 of Expo’s 190-plus participating countries, with many other participants attending virtually.

Erik Linquier, Commissioner General for France at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “This week’s face-to-face meeting demonstrates that Expo 2020 is ready – and the world is ready – for a global gathering that will unite us and inspire us to work together to build a better future for everyone. Now more than ever, we need to come together to seek solutions to the challenges we all face.

 “The France Pavilion will take visitors on a journey to experience new emotions and unleash new ideas to reinvent our world, with light as a source of progress, inspiration, movement, knowledge and creativity. France believes Expo 2020 will be a celebration of our spirit, our resilience and our togetherness – as well as an unmissable opportunity for us to share with the world our bold innovations and creations that will positively impact the future of humanity.”

Alexey Gruzdev, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and Commissioner General for Russia at Expo 2020, said: “The whole world is waiting for 1 October for this truly grandiose event – the first to be held on such a large scale in the post-pandemic era. I am convinced that Expo 2020 Dubai will become a vivid embodiment of the victory of humanity, which has united its knowledge and efforts to confront this new threat. Russia intends to take the most active part in the business and cultural programming, and demonstrate to the world the best of its innovative and creative industries.”

The most diverse World Expo ever, Expo 2020 will welcome more than 200 participants, including nations, multilateral organisations, academic institutions and businesses. For the first time in the 170-year history of World Expos, each participating country will have its own pavilion – a dedicated space where it can showcase its culture and progress to the world, creating partnerships and exploring solutions relevant to its circumstances and people. Some nations, including South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, are participating in a World Expo for the first time.

His Excellency Deng Deng Nhial, Commissioner General for South Sudan at Expo 2020, said: “The global pandemic is yet another challenge facing South Sudan, but this makes our first participation in a World Expo even more essential. Expo 2020 is our opportunity to map out a brighter future, to tell the world a different story – one that shows our huge potential to the world. It will be a crucial launch pad – not only for South Sudan, but for the entire continent of Africa – to build bridges, attract investment, collaborate with the international community, assess global challenges, and put our heads together to fix world problems. It is what the world needs, and we are proud to be taking part.”

Ambassador Jorge Neme, Argentina’s Secretary for International Economic Relations, said: “Argentina believes that cooperation on all levels is fundamental to making progress, and the next World Expo could not come at a better time. This International Participants Meeting has clearly demonstrated that Dubai and the UAE are ready to host a safe, exciting and inspirational event that will bring us all together and drive actions to benefit us all. We are looking forward to sharing Argentina’s incredible ideas and potential – from its hotels and tourism to its agribusiness and renewable energy – with the millions of visitors to Expo 2020.”

The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), and the largest event to be held in the Arab word, Expo 2020 is a point of pride for the whole region and an opportunity to showcase Arab culture on an international stage.

His Excellency Mohsin bin Khamis Al Balushi, Commissioner General of the Sultanate of Oman at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Expo 2020 Dubai is set to be a cultural and commercial extravaganza. Oman’s pavilion, whose design is inspired by a frankincense burner, will draw international attention to the Sultanate’s rich culture and history, as well as promoting Oman’s competitive advantage. Oman and the UAE have always enjoyed an exceptional relationship, one that is built on trust, openness and cooperation. Oman’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai is yet another step towards strengthening the ties between the two neighbouring countries.”

During the two-day IPM, attendees were briefed on the latest in operations, security, city readiness, marketing and communications, and programming, while organisers also presented the stringent measures being taken to ensure the health and well-being of Expo’s workforce, participants and visitors, in line with the UAE’s wider efforts to combat COVID-19.

Expo 2020 Dubai will run from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022, coinciding with the 50-year anniversary of the founding of the UAE. It is inviting visitors from every corner of the globe to join the making of a new world, as they discover life-changing innovations that will have a meaningful, positive impact on both people and planet.