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January 24, 2010

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Finding harmony in better, healthier urban life

SHANGHAI is the ideal choice as the host city of World Expo 2010. The goal of a World Expo is to exhibit the world's leading achievements in culture, science and technology.

China is the world's largest and fastest-growing emerging economy, and Shanghai has played a leading role in that progress. The city epitomizes China's achievements in the three decades since the nation embarked on its drive to reform its economy and open its doors to the world. With its deep cultural history and innovative population, Shanghai is certain to give the world a successful, exciting and unforgettable World Expo.

It has been over 100 years since China's first participation in a World Expo. World Expo 2010 Shanghai China, following on from the Beijing Olympic Games, will be the culmination of a century-old dream of the Chinese people. It will bring great pride to the whole nation because China is the first developing country to host a World Expo. This exposition will provide China a golden opportunity to exhibit its culture.

As China's national strength and global influence keep rising, it is of increasing importance to help the outside world better understand China's culture, the values of its people and the direction and intent of its development. I believe this World Expo will play a special role in making that happen.

World Expo 2010 Shanghai China will be a platform for communication among different countries and different cultures. Ours is a pluralized world. Each nation takes pride in its unique history and culture. Only by learning from one another and offsetting our weaknesses with the strengths of others can we turn our world into one of great harmony and beauty. This is especially true in the present-day acceleration of globalization.

Over six months, 70 million people from over 200 countries and international organizations will visit World Expo 2010, turning it into a global pageant of unprecedented scale. The participating groups will bring to it not only products and technologies but also diverse concepts and viewpoints. The exchange of ideas will be of much greater importance than the exchange of commodities.

The theme of World Expo 2010 is "Better City, Better Life," which is in harmony with the theme of World Health Day 2010 - "City and Health." Urbanization is an important part of modernization and economic growth but it may also have negative effects.

How to make urban life better and healthier is indeed an issue deserving constant attention from city dwellers, urban planners and municipal administrators. I sincerely hope World Expo 2010 Shanghai China will help the world focus on this issue and consider effective solutions. The WHO will take an active part in Expo activities and use this important platform to introduce concepts of healthy living to the Chinese people and to all other visitors.

The WHO has maintained a close relationship with the organizers of World Expo 2010 Shanghai, cooperation not limited to its participation in the exposition.

Rather, it involves many corollary fields such as food safety, disease control, emergency responses and health promotion prior to and during World Expo. The WHO will make every endeavor to contribute to the success of the exposition.

My best wishes for its success.


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