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Milestones of modernization

I feel greatly honored to send a message to the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

As is true with solemn UN Summits and with record-breaking Olympic Games, World Expos, by showcasing splendid achievements of civilization, can bring together countries of the world, uniting the peoples of the world in pursuit of cooperation, progress, innovation, peace and development. They can have far-reaching and historic impact.

So, too, will the World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

As the most representative and authoritative inter-governmental organization, the United Nations cherishes one cardinal objective: to promote international cooperation and advance economic, social and cultural development.

Expos are committed to the same vision.

"Better City, Better Life" °?°?- the theme of the World Expo 2010 Shanghai - represents a close link that connects the work of the United Nations with that of the World Expo.

This close relationship dates back many years.

Over the last few decades, we have witnessed the themes of Expos evolving, under the influence of the United Nations.

The changes in Expo themes, in turn, demonstrate how Expos have helped push forward historical trends.

In 1972, the United Nations convened the first international conference on the environment in Stockholm. Two years later, an international environmental fair - Expo 74 - was held in Spokane, Washington, which broke new ground as the first environmentally themed Expo in history.

In 1982, the first Expo with a theme focusing on energy - Energy Turns the World - was held in Knoxville, Tennessee.

In 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, was convened in Rio de Janeiro. The Conference adopted Agenda 21, a program of action for achieving sustainable development.

In response, World Expos have increasingly embraced the "sustainable development" concept. In 1998 the Lisbon Expo adopted the theme of "The Oceans, a Heritage for Future;" in 2000 the Hanover Expo focused on the theme of "Humankind, Nature, Technology."

In 2002, the United Nations convened the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg to further promote the harmonious relations between people, nature and economic growth.

In 2005, the Aichi World Expo adopted the theme of "Nature's Wisdom."

The World Expo 2010 Shanghai will continue this historical tie, featuring the theme of cities, exploring the future of global cities from the perspective of scientific development and sustainable development.

What a timely theme!

The 21st century will be an important period of urban development. The world's population living in cities has already exceeded more than half of the world total. The future growth of the world population will be mainly concentrated in the cities of developing countries. How to build harmonious cities to achieve sustainable development is a significant and pressing global challenge.

China has the world's largest urban population - about 580 million people; therefore, China is in the forefront of tackling the challenges of urbanization. China will need to achieve balanced relations between economic growth and environmental protection, between historical preservation and modernization, and between urban and rural development.

A better city, and more beautiful life - that is the dream of every resident in every city of the world.

I am convinced that Shanghai's World Expo will provide a platform for showcasing achievements, exchanging knowledge and experience, and promoting cooperation and innovation.

It will bring about a variety of innovative ideas and "happy surprises" and will generate a positive impact on urban life for the next 100 years.

As the Pearl of the Orient, Shanghai should be a model for the world's cities.


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