Scotland at Expo 2020 Dubai: evaluation report

An evaluation report detailing the work undertaken in developing and delivering Scotland's programme of activity and engagement at the EXPO 2020 Dubai between October 2021 and March 2022, highlighting outcomes achieved and recommendations to support participation at future World Expo events.

Section 11: Future Expo Participation

The next World Expo will be held in Osaka, Japan between 13 April and 13 October 2025. UK plans for this event are not yet known however it is likely they will have a presence in some form so we should seriously consider a Scottish presence as part of that event.

All international exhibitions/Expo's are overseen and regulated by the Intergovernmental Organisation - Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). Currently Scotland is not a BIE member state therefore we rely on the UK Government (UKG), who hold membership status, to offer an "invitation" to its devolved Administrations, as was the case for EXPO 2020 Dubai. Assuming Scotland's position within the UK does not change by the time UKG plans are underway for the next Expo (Osaka 2025) we would need to rely on the same engagement "invitation".

Any offer of engagement with the UKG should be welcomed but using our experience from EXPO 2020 Dubai it is important that we have a clear and early understanding of the UKG plans, including any objectives and focus, and that any subsequent discussions or agreements for potential participation aligns with Scotland's international ambitions and meets our requirements for delivery. Any future sponsorship agreement with UKG needs a robust process for partnership working to ensure a better understanding and level of delivery that meet Scotland's expectations for the level of investment provided and allows for appropriate challenge if UKG are not delivering on that.

However, should our position within the UK change as a result of the impending Scottish Independence Referendum, SG officials would need to investigate membership and participation options with the BIE. Naturally, in this scenario our preference would be to participate as a sovereign nation although this would have significant resource implications.

Overall future Scottish participation will be dependent on and driven by a number of factors with the independence issue being at the forefront of whether or how we might secure Scottish presence. At Section 12 - Recommendations - we have sought to capture a set of key considerations and operational recommendations that will help shape and focus any future Expo participation.



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