Home » Global Conventions » Expo, where Human Progress and History Meet People 2. Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) and Expo

Expo, where Human Progress and History Meet People 2. Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) and Expo

2. Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) and Expo

Background for the founding of Bureau International des Exposition (BIE)
As a cradle for international expositions, Bureau International des Exposition (BIE) is an international organization that seeks international pursuit of effective implementation of international expositions, and was created in Paris in accordance with the Convention Relating to International Exhibitions signed in 1928. As a lot of countries desired to host international expositions, their qualitative degeneration became an issue, which led to the need to create an international organization, thus officially giving birth of BIE. BIE standardizes and manages the cycle and class of international expositions that come under its jurisdiction and holds two general assemblies a year for the purpose. At the General Assembly, BIE discusses finalizing timetable for international expositions, finalizing registration of expositions, and interpretation and revision of the Convention. International expositions currently recognized by BIE are classified into Registered Exhibitions and Recognized Exhibitions.

The three ideas of BIE: trust, solidarity, and progress
BIE’s operating ethics is grounded in the three ideas of trust, solidarity, and progress, which are specified as follows. The philosophy and goal of BIE can be verified through its emblem. The BIE emblem is composed of a circle and wave pattern, which symbolize human progress toward the future, technological development, moral and material development, and a leap toward a better world. While the circle symbolizes peace, friendship, and cultural exchange among people, the wavy horizon suggests advancement toward limitless growth into the future. Blue, which stands for the sublimeness of the pursued goal, makes a viewer imagine the outer space as the color of vast seas and sky, while the pure white line delineates the sacred justice. And there’s the third meaning of the BIE emblem, which encompasses the entirety. The circle and white line mingle to form the shape of the earth, which represents the universal and humanitarian goal of BIE.

With 160 member countries that have signed up in accordance of the Paris Convention
With Angola in Africa signing up as its member in early 2012, BIE came to have total 160 member states. By continent, Europe comes first with 45 members, followed by Africa (40 members), the Americas (32 members), Asia (29 members), and Middle East (14 members). Other than the United States, North America has only two countries of Canada and Mexico. To sign up as a BIE member, several requirements and approval procedure apply. In this regard, BIE specifies requirement for membership in accordance with the Paris Convention (Nov. 22, 1928). According to the regulation, all member states of the United Nations (UN) are eligible to sign up for BIE membership, whereas non-members of the UN are allowed to join in as BIE members, provided that their candidacy is approved by at least two-thirds of parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice, members of Specialized agencies of the United Nations or International Atomic Energy Agency, or contracting parties of General Assembly of the Bureau. The document of ratification must be entrusted with the government of the Republic of France, and the specific country’s membership takes effect as of the day it is entrusted.

BIE member countries that enjoy various benefits including the rights related to selection and operation of venues
BIE members are granted a basic package of benefits. First of all, they can express their views on all BIE agenda and should perform important roles in developing policies and basic principles related to international expositions. Member countries can participate in the discussions with expo hosts and can perform a major role in matters related to the selection of venues and operation of expositions by delivering opinions on expo supervising organizations. Also, its members are given priority, if they want to host an expo. For example, if two or more countries submit applications on one same date, members are recognized as having submitted application earlier, while in applying for registration of an expo, member countries have only to pay half the specified cost of application. In other words, as an international organization, BIE mediates so that the governments of member countries may reduce costs as levied by the strict regulations imposed on expo hosting organizations. By the way, a member country that wins more votes is selected in the final ballot to decide a host city, whereas a successful non-member candidate must get two-thirds of the entire votes regardless of how many cities it competes against.

Providing operational mode that maximizes the performance of an expo
BIE goes so far as to conduct an investigation into the operational mode for an international exposition prior to its implementation to ensure that it complies with regulations. As part of such effort, BIE provides support to ensure that international expositions work on special content and themes to provide audience with opportunities for new experience. For example, BIE provides information for scheduled host cities by conducting research and analysis based on data related to international expositions including their performance. Especially, it continues to study and discuss matters related to crucial factors for a successful implementation of an expo such as quality of content, content fusing various cultures, efforts by people of host cities, and the role of media.

Efforts related to the use of related facilities following the implementation of an expo
In selecting expo host cities, BIE requires the establishment of plans not only on how an expo venue should be used during the period, but also how it is to be used after the expo, and conducts in-depth evaluation and analysis of the issues. Exhibition facilities should be effectively used beyond an expo and thereby contribute to the development of a specific host city, while a lot of people can enjoy it as a venue for cultural exchange thereafter.

Operating BIE Library designed to provide expo-related information
The BIE website runs a library designed to provide information on international expositions. The space is a webpage that has collected detailed information and documents, and it includes research data on international expositions that has since 1851 been published in different countries. However, if someone wants to have data available on special conditions to people who work in research or in the exhibition industry for international expositions or have it available to the general public for public benefits, he or she should get in touch with BIE. The website allows users to check books or documents owned by BIE.

Building and operating an expo museum in Shanghai, China
The expo museum, which is going to be built jointly by BIE and Shanghai Municipal People’s Government, will be BIE’s official museum and archive center, thus China’s first BIE-approved international exposition museum approved. The mission of the expo museum is to propagate the legacy of expo, inherit and development the expo spirit, enlighten the general public, and preserve the foundation of the expo. The expo museum aims to present the splendid exhibits from 2010 Shanghai Expo, the history of international expositions since 1851, and the future trajectory of expositions held in 2010 and later, and will serve as a basis for education on international expositions and cultural education. The museum will be located in Puxi district, the site of 2010 Shanghai Expo, and with the construction begun in 2012 on a floor area of 40,000㎡, will be completed within two years. Afterwards, it will undergo a one-year preparation including arrangement of exhibits and open in 2015.


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