Bureau International des Expositions
The BIE is the intergovernmental organisation charged with overseeing and deregulating world exhibitions since 1931, with its headquarters in Paris. The BIE now has 181 member states, including Belgium as one of its founding members.
There are four types of international exhibitions organised under the supervision of the BIE: world exhibitions, specialised exhibitions, horticultural exhibitions and the Triennale di Milano.
The BIE is responsible for organising these world events, putting the rights of the organisers and participants at the heart of its work.
The BIE's core values are education, innovation and collaboration.
The BIE has some responsibilities: choosing host countries for future expos, giving candidate and host countries access to their expertise in terms of event management, "national branding" and public diplomacy, and regulating the organisation of the event. In doing so, they ensure that the host country and participants are sure to respect the Convention of the BIE and the rules of the expo.
When the BIE was founded, the organisation had 31 members. Since then, the international organisation has grown and now has 181 member countries. This growth is due to the success and appeal of international expos. Member states are given a say in all decisions taken by the BIE and work daily to improve the quality of international expos.
How they work
Each member state is represented by up to three delegates. These delegates are appointed by the governments of the individual Member States. Those representatives participate in the decision-making process of the BIE.
The BIE is headed by a Secretary General who looks after the management of the intergovernmental organisation. The current secretary general is Greek Dimitri S. Kerkentzes.
Each member state can cast one vote in each decision-making process. Those decisions are made at the General Assembly, a meeting organised twice a year.
That meeting is dedicated to: electing the organisers of future expos, jet discussing, approving and publishing rules for the organisation of exhibitions, approving the budget, communication strategy and rules of procedure of the Bureau, electing the members of each committee and the chairperson Appointing the secretary-general of the BIE and, if necessary, amending the 1928 Convention.
The BIE also consists of several Committees: the Excecutive Committee, the Rules Committee, the Administration and Budget Committee and the Information and Communications Committee. The management of the BIE is the responsibility of the Secretariat, which is supervised by the Secretary General.
Since 1931, the BIE has hosted more than 50 exhibitions, each attracting millions of visitors. In 2010, Shanghai broke the record with 73 million visitors.
World exhibitions last up to 6 months, are not limited in size, participants can build their own pavilion and the theme of the exhibition must be universal.
Specialised Expos are limited to 25 hectares, can last up to 3 months, are dedicated to a more specific theme and hosts offer participants a space in a pavilion.
Furthermore, the BIE also organises the Triennale di Milano regularly since 1933 and horticultural expos co-organised with the International Association of Horticultural Producers since 1959.
The first World's Fair took place in London in 1851. Many other cities followed and held memorable exhibitions such as Paris, Vienna, Chicago or Brussels.
Currently, not only is the BIE preparing for Expo 2025 Osaka, but other international expos are on the horizon.
There will be two international expos in 2027: Expo 2027 Yokohama, a horticultural expo, and Expo 2027 Belgrade, a specialised expo. Belgium has not yet made a decision regarding participation in either of these expos in 2027.
Expo 2030, the world exhibition that will take place five years after Expo 2025 Osaka is also already being thoroughly discussed. Three candidates are still in the running to host Expo 2030: Busan (South Korea), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and Rome (Italy). The BIE will organise a secret ballot vote at its general assembly on 28 November 2023. On that day, which city will host Expo 2030 will be announced. We are already very curious.