Institutional and regulatory framework for universal exhibitions

Universal exhibitions are the expression of the way of thinking that gave birth to the Olympic Movement or the League of Nations, evolving over 150 years towards reflecting the social changes.

The first universal exhibitions were promoters of the industrial revolution, illustrated by mega-machines (steam engine, pneumatic cars, electric engine), huge architectural projects that combine glass and steel (Crystal Palace – London 1851 “Great Progress”, Eiffel Tower – Paris 1889 “Celebration of the Centennial of the French revolution”) and encyclopaedic systems of classification.

On 22 November 1928 was signed, in Paris, the Convention regarding the International Exhibitions, which Romania, as a founding member, ratified by Decree no. 2.581/ 1930, entering into force  on 17 January 1931. The International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE) currently has 167 member states.

The Convention regarding international exhibitions regulated the creation of the International Exhibitions Bureau (BIE – Bureau International des Expositions), an administrative body that supervises and ensures the application of this Convention, and established basic rules regarding the classification of exhibitions, rights and obligations of organisers and participants, as well as the frequency of such events. In accordance with the BIE Convention, there are two types of International Exhibitions:

  • Registered exhibitions (universal): duration between 6 weeks and 6 months and at least 5 years between two similar events;
  • Recognized exhibitions (international): duration between 3 weeks and 3 months, a specialized theme, surface of the expo site of maximum 25 ha.; only one recognized exhibition may be organized between two registered exhibitions.

Romania is an active part of the organization, being a member of several coordination bodies: Executive Committee, from 2005 until 2009, Budget and Administration Committee from 2009 until 2013 and Rules Committee, beginning with 2013. Romania holds the presidency of the organisation, for the period 2011 - 2015.