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'Urban Biosphere' to open HQ in city

"URBAN Biosphere," a UNESCO forum for tackling the problems of urbanization, will open headquarters in Shanghai in the next few months. Its first task will be to help set up the UN's Environmental Protection Exhibition at the 2010 World Expo.

Urbanization is a global phenomenon, and cities around the world can share their experiences tackling the challenges it throws up. Only 3 percent of the planet's population lived in cities in 1800. Today that figure stands at 50 percent, and it is estimated to reach more than 65 percent within 30 years, according to Kevin Tung, from the China International Cultural Communication Center in Shanghai.

"Cities are facing a variety of problems associated with urbanization. Sharing experiences may help us find solutions faster," Tung said.

Urban Biosphere was launched last year to provide a platform for the world's top scientists and city-planning experts to share experiences and promote among its members the best ways to tackle problems. It is co-organized by UNESCO, Stockholm University and the Convention on Biological Diversity, among other organizations.


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