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UNEP to focus on urban biodiversity in Shanghai World Expo

2010. 23 March

( The spokesman for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to executive director has said that the UN agency will focus on "urban biodiversity" in the upcoming Shanghai World Expo.

Spokesman Nick Nuttal told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview," We are looking forward to the Shanghai (World) Expo and the chance to be a part of it."

"The UNEP will host a series of events in the UN Pavilion from July 5 to August 1. We are focusing on the theme 'urban biodiversity' that would link the Expo's theme of 'Better City, Better Life' and the International Year of Biodiversity," said the spokesman.

As for the focus and its significance, Nuttal explained,"We live in a rapidly urbanizing world. Today, more than half of the world's population lives in cities and by 2030 that number is expected to reach 70 percent. According to a UNEP study, cities occupy only 2.8 percent of the earth's surface but urban dwellers use 75 percent of the planet's natural resources."

"The fight to protect the biodiversity of the planet will ultimately be won by working with the cities," Nuttal stressed.

The UNEP official hailed the preparation for the Shanghai World Expo.

"We are very impressed by the preparations for an environmentally-friendly Expo 2010," he noted, adding that the UNEP launched its own assessment last August on the Expo and the possibility that the Expo would leave a green legacy for Shanghai's residents.

He pointed out that the report outlined Shanghai's efforts in nine key areas: air quality, transport, energy, solid waste, water, green coverage, protected areas, climate neutrality and the overall situation of the Expo site. It also looked at the challenges facing the city and the enormous efforts that have been taken to address them.

The Shanghai World Expo is an international exposition that will take place from May 1 to October 31 this year and cover a surface of more than 5 square km in Shanghai, under its main theme of "Better City, Better Life".

It is expected to attract 70 million people from the public and private sectors, civil society, international organizations and others.