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April 16, 2010

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Let technology point the way

I am pleased and honored to extend my best wishes to the organizers of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai and to the citizens of Shanghai.

I firmly believe that the World Expo remains as relevant today as it was in 1851, when the first one was held in London, England. The Shanghai World Expo represents a wonderful opportunity for ordinary people from around the world to come together, interact and exchange ideas relating to the theme "Better City, Better Life."

These ideas will help us to devise innovative solutions to the challenges facing the entire planet today. One of the primary ways I believe we can work to create a better city, a better life and a better world for all of us is by using the power of technology. Technology has already revolutionized our lives by shrinking the world and by changing the way we do business and communicate with each other. The last 10 years have seen remarkable advancements in what technology can do.

Now the time has come to use technological innovation to help create a greener, more sustainable world - a world of increased globalization, where people and ideas can move freely across borders to create a better future for everyone.

Within our cities, there are many areas in which technology can be used to enhance the quality of life for residents while having a positive environmental impact. Some examples include transportation, architecture, urban planning, water and sanitation and recreation.

As the number of car users has grown dramatically over the past decade, air pollution and smog have also increased. This not only increases the problems of climate change, but also has serious effects on people's health, causing allergies and respiratory issues.

Technology can help reduce this problem in a number of ways. First, if cities invest in creating safe, effective public transportation networks that run on green technology, more people may avoid driving. More eco-friendly cars must also be created, which have lower emissions, higher fuel efficiency, and use solar power, rechargeable batteries or bio-diesel to run.

As cities around the world continue to grow, steps must be taken to ensure that these building projects have a minimal environmental impact. Skyscrapers should come with rooftop gardens to help cut emissions and provide green spaces within the city.

Buildings should take advantage of structural modifications to reduce the need for air conditioning and heating. Buildings can have facilities for rainwater harvesting and should be built from sustainable, eco-friendly materials. Technology can also help track the progress of building projects, creating accountability to the public and transparency on government projects, preventing corruption.

As the Earth's population grows, the stress on our limited supply of fresh water is also growing. Left unaddressed, water scarcity has the potential to create conflicts, limit development and cause suffering for millions around the world. We must use technology to create effective sanitation methods that adequately remove pollutants and infectious agents from our drinking water.

To generate the ideas and innovations that will bring about the use of technology to solve these problems, people from around the world must be able to meet, communicate and share their ideas and experiences with each other to arrive at the best possible solutions.

I have every hope that the World Expo 2010 Shanghai will allow such interactions to occur, to promote the concepts that will shape tomorrow's world and help us address the problems that affect every one. By working together to create better cities, we can create better lives and a better world for us all.

(This message has been abridged to suit the limited space.)


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