Specialised Expos, officially known as ‘International Recognised Exhibitions’, are global events designed to respond to a precise challenge facing humanity. Specialised Expos welcome millions of visitors and offer a journey through the chosen theme through engaging and immersive activities.

Article 4 of the 1928 Paris Convention states that Specialised Expos “illustrate a definite theme” and that the event is limited in duration (maximum three months) and space (up to 25 hectares). The exhibition site is entirely built by the Organiser, Participants being provided with pavilion space, which they may customise, inside and outside, according to their own interpretation of the Expo theme.

The next Specialised Expo will take place in Belgrade, Serbia, between 15 May and 15 August 2027 under the theme “Play for Humanity – Sport and Music for All”.

View the list of all Specialised Expos since 1936

Official Designation International Recognised Exhibition*
Organiser Host country
Theme A precise subject of international interest
Duration Up to three months**
Frequency Between two World Expos***
Size Exhibition space limited to a maximum of 25 ha**
Pavilions Participants customise space provided by the Organiser
Official Participants Countries and International Organisations
Non-Official Participants Cities, Regions, Companies, Civil society and NGOs

* The 1928 Paris Convention initially referred to ‘Special Exhibitions’. A protocol to the Convention was adopted in 1972 redefining them as ‘Specialised Exhibitions’. The current classification was adopted by the 1988 amendment which gave them their current official designation as ‘International Recognised Exhibitions’.

** Prior to the 1988 amendment, first applied to Expo 2008 Zaragoza, Specialised Expos could last up to 6 months, with no limitation to the size of the site.

*** The rules on the frequency of Specialised Expos have differed through time. With the 1972 protocol, the minimal interval was set at two years, barring exceptions permitted by the BIE. Following a multiplication of Specialised Expos in the 1980s and a subsequent moratorium on Expos, the 1988 amendment was adopted to limit their frequency to once every 5 years (between World Expos).