The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) held its 173rd General Assembly in Paris on 28 November 2023. Delegates representing the 182 Member States of the BIE attended the meeting, which included reports on current and upcoming Expos, the recognition of the 24th International Exhibition of Triennale Milano, and the election of the host country of World Expo 2030.

The first part of the session featured reports from the meetings of the four committees of the BIE; the Administration and Budget Committee, the Executive Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Information and Communication Committee.

The 173rd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE)

World Expos

With its opening date in 500 days, the Organisers of World Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai presented Member States the latest updates on preparations. Ambassador Koji Haneda, Commissioner-General of the Expo, underlined the Government of Japan’s mobilisation in all aspects of the Expo’s preparation, and added that a major development is around the corner when ticket sales are launched on 30 November. He indicated that currently 160 countries and 9 international organisations have announced their participation in the next World Expo and expressed thanks to all participants for their engagement. Details on the progress of the Expo’s construction, content, communications activities and initiatives such as TEAM EXPO were provided to Delegates by Hiroyuki Ishige, Secretary General of the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition.

The Commissioner-General of Expo 2025 Osaka Kansai, Ambassador Koji Haneda, addressing the 173rd General Assembly of the BIE

For World Expo 2030, the three candidates (the Republic of Korea, Italy and Saudi Arabia) gave their final presentation to delegates before Member States voted for Saudi Arabia’s project to organise World Expo 2030 in the city of Riyadh under the theme “The Era of Change: Together for a Foresighted Tomorrow”, between 1 October and 31 March 2031.

The Secretary General of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), Dimitri S. Kerkentzes (left) and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, H.H. Prince Faisal bin Farhan, during a press conference organised following Saudi Arabia’s election as World Expo 2030 host country

The 173rd General Assembly was also the opportunity for the Ambassador of Haiti, H.E. Jean Josué Pierre Mahoney to remind Member States that Haiti organised the first World Expo in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1949 in Port au Prince. He informed Delegates that the Government of Haiti wishes to mark the 100th anniversary of Expo 1949 Port-au-Prince by organising an ‘Expo of renewal’ in the city in 2049.

Specialised Expos

A delegation representing Expo 2027 Belgrade delivered its first presentation to the BIE General Assembly since Serbia was elected host country of the next Specialised Expo during the previous session. The Minister of Science, Technological Development and Innovation, Jelena Begović expressed the Government of Serbia’s commitment to the Expo project and assured Member States that all deadlines will be met so that the expected 100 participating countries will be able to take part in the “dance of nations”. Regarding technical progress, the CEO of the newly created entity responsible for organising the Expo, Dušan Borovčanin, indicated that construction work on the Expo site will begin before the end of 2023, adding that the final touches are being made to the Recognition Dossier ahead of its submission to the BIE. The General Assembly was also the opportunity for the Organisers to reveal the new visual identity of Expo 2027 Belgrade, inspired by the two rivers that converge in the host city.

Horticultural Expos

With regard to Horticultural Expos, the Secretary General of Expo 2023 Doha, Mohamed Ali Alkhoori updated Member States on the progress of the Expo, which opened its gates on 2 October. Following on from the Opening Ceremony, numerous events and activities have taken place at the Expo site, including pavilion inaugurations, National Day celebrations and theme events. Mr. Alkhoori added that the Expo is being accompanied by a widespread communications campaign in Doha and further afield, which has led to the Expo receiving over 800,000 visitors as of 20 November. The Secretary General of Expo 2023 Doha also specified that the Expo site will continue to serve residents of Qatar after the Expo closes on 28 March 2024, with major facilities and pavilions to be repurposed as museums and public venues.

Member States were also given an update on the preparations for the following Horticultural Expo, Expo 2027 Yokohama. The Deputy Director-General of the Ministry of Land, Transport and Tourism of Japan, Masahide Katsumata told the General Assembly that the theme of the Expo “Scenery of the Future for Happiness” aims to bring about a sustainable society that is harmonious with nature, and that the Government of Japan hopes for broad international participation in the event. Regarding the schedule, the Under Secretary General of the Japan Association for the International Horticultural Expo 2027 Yokohama, Koichi Chiyo stated that landscaping work will begin in 2024, before plots are handed over to international participants in 2026.

International Exhibition of Triennale Milano

After the formal Recognition of the 24th International Exhibition of Triennale Milano 24th International Exhibition of Triennale Milano taking place in 2025, the General Assembly was presented with an overview of its theme “Inequalities”. Before receiving the flag of BIE and Expos, the President of Triennale Milano, Stefano Boeri introduced the theme of the International Exhibition, indicating that it will invite “architects, urbanists, scientists and artists to shed light on the theme of inequalities”. Aiming to map inequalities, the 24th International Exhibition of Triennale Milano will “search for the most advanced political projects for a society in which differences constitute an international and mobile value and resources, to be recomposed within new forms of community”. Noting that cities encapsulate the phenomena of accelerating inequalities, he explains that they will be the protagonists of the thematic exhibits and international participation of the 24th International Exhibition.


Elections were held to the Presidency of the General Assembly of the BIE, and to determine the composition of each of the BIE’s four Committees, as well as their respective chairpersons. The full list of the members of each Committee can be accessed here.

Mr. Alain Berger (France) was elected President of the General Assembly for a two-year term. Ms Antoinette Catania (Malta) was elected President of the Executive Committee, H.E. Mr. Rolando Ruiz Rosas Cateriano (Peru) was elected President of the Rules Committee, H.E. Ms Karen-Mae Hill (Antigua and Barbuda) was elected President of the Administration and Budget Committee, and Ms Zahra Iyane Thiam (Senegal) was elected President of the Information and Communication Committee.