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Crafting an urban symphony

ABOUT half of the world's population lives in urban areas. By 2030, it will be 60 percent and, by 2050, 70 percent. The results will be more congestion, pollution and environmental degradation. All countries must balance urban growth with environmental sustainability to make their cities livable. World Expo 2010's theme for this Expo "Better City, Better Life" sums up this imperative.

China is the world's fastest growing economy and is expected to be the world's largest economy by 2030. At present, 55 percent of Chinese live in urban areas. By 2035, some 70 percent will be in the cities.

China has to balance growth with minimum damage to the environment. China has signed the Kyoto Protocol. It is into Clean Development Mechanism projects and has a range of clean energy initiatives.

Singapore faces many environmental constraints and challenges. About 4.8 million live in an area of 710 square kilometers (about one-tenth the size of Shanghai). We have to work out imaginative solutions to provide a clean and pleasant living environment.

We developed many technologies and have concentrated on water management to reduce wastage. Singaporeans have enjoyed clean drinking water, a major challenge for many cities.

Keeping Singapore green and environmentally friendly did not hamper its economic expansion. This has been a key factor in attracting foreign investors and expanding our economy. Singaporeans accept strict environmental rules to enjoy the benefits of living in a clean and green city. People see the need to balance urban aspirations and an eco-friendly, sustainable life.

China and Singapore have cooperated on several economic development projects with minimum damage to the environment. We have shared experiences in urban and industrial development.

Singapore has invested in seawater desalination and wastewater treatment plants in China. In 2007, Singapore started a project with China in Tianjin for an eco-city, to promote sustainable development, environmental protection and social harmony. Groundbreaking was in September 2008.

In May 2009, Chinese and Singapore companies have joined in another project to develop a Singapore-Nanjing Eco High-Tech Island. This US$50 billion project is Nanjing's largest foreign collaborative development. The first phase is targeted for completion in 2020.

The Singapore Pavilion for World Expo 2010 is titled "Urban Symphony," to reflect the green and vibrant city that we are building. We will display Singapore's transforming landscape and share with China our experiences in urban planning, environmental protection and sustainable development.

I wish the people of the city of Shanghai every success.


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