France seeks Bangladesh’s vote to host World Expo-2025

The French government has sent its Special Envoy Pascal Lamy, former two times World Trade Organisation’s Director General, to Bangladesh to campaign for its candidature in the World Expo 2025.

Nurul Islam
Published : 6 Jan 2018, 02:50 PM
Updated : 6 Jan 2018, 02:52 PM

Two close friends of Bangladesh, Japan and Russia, and another country Azerbaijan are also competing candidates for the Expo which will be held just five years before the ending of the global agenda SDGs-2030.

Pascal Lamy said there are “few comparative advantages” if Paris is voted for the Expo.

“Our theme is ‘knowledge to share, planet to care’ through which we want to discuss how more efficiently we can address the climate change challenges through science and technology,” he told in an exclusive interview on Saturday.

“This is very much in line with medium and long term strategies of Bangladesh which is also coping with environmental challenges,” he said.

World Expos, known officially as International Registered Exhibitions, are organised every five years. They can last up to six months, and international participants can build their own pavilions on the Expo site.

The themes of World Expos are designed to raise awareness of and find responses to universal challenges of our time.

The most recent World Expo was held in the city of Milan, Italy, in 2015, under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

The next World Expo will take place in Dubai (UAE) between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021 under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

The decision for the 2025 will be taken by mid-November by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) which have 170 members including Bangladesh. Each member has a vote.

France’s bid is for a World Expo in Greater Paris between 1 May and 30 October 2025 under the theme “Sharing our Knowledge, Caring for Our Planet”.

Japan’s bid is for a World Expo in Osaka between 3 May and 3 November 2025 under the theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”.

The Russian Federation’s bid is for a World Expo in Yekaterinburg between 2 May and 2 November 2025 under the theme “Changing the World: Inclusive Innovations – for Our Kids and Future Generations”.

Azerbaijan’s bid is for a World Expo in Baku between 10 May and 10 November 2025 under the theme “Human Capital”.

Explaining the comparative advantages of France, Lamy said: “the attractiveness of Paris is higher than the others and the quality cost ratio of our offer is the highest.”

“We expect 40 million visitors which is much more than others. Of course this matters a lot. If you participate in an exhibition, your target is to have maximum visitors”.

He said Bangladesh has participated in all international or universal exhibitions.

“Paris is the number one tourist destination. We have Olympic Games in 2024 when the messages of the expo will be spread to nearly 4 billion viewers about how good it would be to take ticket for Paris 2025”.

“We offer larger visibility for a lower price,” he said.

He said the concept of global village is also a low cost concept and after the expo those will be used as university campus.

It will be located at Paris-Saclay, a research-intensive and business cluster currently under construction south of Paris.

He said the pavilion Bangladesh for the expo, can later be turned into a residence of Bangladesh students who will study in the university.

“So there is an economic component. Let’s assume you [Bangladesh] spend $10 million in the expo where it will get maximum return?”

“And the technical issue which is know-how. Who can do the best and of course France has the know-how and it is tested.”

He said there is also a political and diplomatic component.

He said in recent times France and Bangladesh have been working on number of issues “hands in hands”.

“The French President was the most outspoken on the Rohingya issue and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was one of the most visible participants of the One Planet Summit held in December”.

Earlier, speaking at a lecture organised by the Centre for Policy Dialogue or CPD, Lamy said France selected the theme after interviewing youths of 20 years old in 2015.

They were asked what they wanted to be discussed in 2025 when they would be 30 years old.

“They said ‘we believe in science and but science that can address the fear we have in planet’,” Lamy said, based on that they selected the theme.

“We have six years between 2019 and 2025 for many countries to build projects how we can use science, technology, and culture to address the fear.”

He said addressing “those environmental fears are not always rocket science, its something we know for ages.”

France has also selected 100 youth ambassadors including one from Bangladesh through social media competition to campaign before the Expo.

“We have a sort of collective set of young people and they will campaign in social network on top of our normal diplomatic system,” he told in the interview.

He will meet the prime minister, foreign minister, and commerce minister on Sunday before leaving Dhaka for Qatar on Monday morning.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher