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Full text of BIE Secretary General Vicente Loscertales's speech

YOUR Excellency Premier Wen Jiabao, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

For the last 184 days we have worked hand in hand for a World Expo that has united us around a major goal: to create a grand international gathering of nations and cultures with the goal of educating citizens and promoting progress for "Better City and Better Life" for today and tomorrow.

Shanghai 2010 has inspired a mindset of cooperation, solidarity and openness which are essential to tackle the major challenges facing humanity. For visitors and participants alike, this Expo has offered unmatched opportunities to experience cultural differences, to understand ongoing global efforts and to learn about different paths for future progress.

Today's Summit Forum is the tip of the iceberg: it reflects the thematic wisdom of Shanghai 2010; and it is the product of a cooperation effort between participants, governments and international organizations that is unprecedented in Expo history.

In this sense, Shanghai 2010 has truly materialized the vision for the World Expos of the 21st Century.

In a world where the channels by which we interact and learn about one another are completely transformed and in a world where actions have global impact, Expos are called to fulfill a new role, which is potentially more powerful than the one in the past.

Today, to be effective platforms for education and progress, Expos must inspire and connect the actions of governments and civil society in their common effort to develop and implement sustainable solutions to the universal challenges we all face.

Expos build bridges that connect different spheres of society. As such, they help promote ideas and initiatives with new publics, they foster the development of new forms of cooperation and, last but not least, they introduce a degree accountability for the actions of governmental institutions and civil society alike, as we are all called to contribute solutions to our common problems.

This is why more recent Expos have elected the theme as their central core and organizing principle.

Since the year 2000, there is a strong connexion between the selection of Expo themes and the main agendas established by the United Nations, through different programmes and agreements such as Agenda 21 from the 1992 Rio Conference and the Millennium Development Goals.

These have inspired Hannover 2000, "Humankind, Nature and Technology: A New World Arising", Aichi 2005 "Nature's Wisdom, Zaragoza 2008 Water and Sustainable Development" and Shanghai 2010 "Better city, Better Lif"e.

The future Expo of Yeosu 2012 focussed on the environmental protection of oceans and coasts makes reference to the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. Milan 2015, with its theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, will help promote the Millennium Development Goals.

As you can see, Expos are becoming key assets for governments and international organizations in their effort to communicate to the public the major issues at the top of their global agendas. They are new platforms for multilateral public diplomacy that help fill the existing awareness and knowledge gaps amongst citizens.

As Shanghai 2010 has proven, in the 21st century, Expos are engines of change that strongly support the top-down policy efforts of governments and international organizations.

They translate complex and high-level concept into a visual language that is easily accessible to people from all walks of life. They show change by implementing it directly in both material and intangible ways through architecture, urban planning, services, culture and education.

The efforts of Shanghai 2010 to reach a true "universal" status, however, do not end here.

Recognizing that cities hold the keys to implement the solutions for building quality environments for urban life, it has invited them to be part of the Expo to exchange practices and to enhance the connection and the involvement of citizens.

Shanghai 2010 has created an educational experience that is much greater than the sum of its parts by engaging cities in organizing the physical presentations in the Urban Best Practices area and by involving directly major international organizations in developing the framework for content.

Shanghai 2010 has fostered innovation and cooperation by making the Expo a place where we have been learning from each other in a spirit of cooperation, and, where we have been learning with each other, in a spirit of innovation.

This Expo has given us a common laboratory for urban future where we have been allowed to exchange, discuss and experiment in a non-confrontational, constructive, practical and truly universal way.

The end of an Expo carries with it a certain degree of sadness. Parting from companions after sharing a major endeavour is never easy. However, the cooperation initiatives that have been launched within this Expo show that only the event is over, our relationships will continue.

I wish to express a particular appreciation to the United Nations for how the different organizations, agencies and programs have actively and enthusiastically contributed their expertise and know-how to support, to develop and to promote the theme of Shanghai 2010.

Through this Expo, the BIE and the UN have worked together hand in hand for the first time. It has been a successful experience that has highlighted important synergies that can only strengthen the educational impact of future Expos amongst citizens as well as local and global leaders alike.

Finally, I wish to congratulate China and Shanghai, our generous host and highly capable organizers, for their commitment and their ambition to support the BIE in advancing the role of Expos in this new century.

They have led the way showing that Expos are at the service of the ideals of our global society and function as powerful instruments that engage the world's citizens to contribute to the efforts of our international community.

In this sense, Shanghai 2010 has established even stronger foundations on which to expand Expos in the 21st Century: Shanghai has successfully demonstrated that Expo can be a core venue where citizens and global institutions come together to actively and constructively contribute to the solution of humanity's challenges through peace, creativity and solidarity.

Thank you.


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