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BIE chief: Shanghai Expo to offer solutions to urban growth

2009. 6 July

( People around the world will learn how to handle the challenges of mass urbanization at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, said Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary-general of the Bureau of International Expositions, on Sunday.

"Better city, better life is a wonderful theme," Loscertales said in an interview with Xinhua. "It is key, involves everything, economy, culture."

In 2010, more than 55 percent of the world's people could live in cities, and in developing countries, big cities could receive millions of people from rural areas, he said. Housing, health care, education would all be issues

In the Shanghai Expo, "we are going to see the best experience of cities and the ways of solving problems in different cultures," he said.

About 70 million visitors, or more than 400,000 per day, are expected to visit the Expo next year.

"The citizens who visit the Shanghai Expo will see how those problems are solved in different parts of the world. Transport, ecological use of energy, the use of water, waste disposal, all these things are very important because they cannot be solved without the active cooperation of the citizens," he said.

The Shanghai Expo also provided opportunities for international cooperation after the Expo to face the challenge of urbanization, he said.

So far, 191 nations and 48 international organizations have officially confirmed their participation in the Expo.

He said he was "very happy" that despite the economic crisis, no country had withdrawn from the Expo, though some countries had scaled back their participation, he said.

Expo organizers had yet to receive a letter of confirmation from the United States on its participation and the appointment of a commissioner general to the event, he said, but he was positive "the United States will participate."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Washington on Wednesday that the United States would take part in 2010 Expo.

Loscertales attended the opening of the traveling exhibition of the Shanghai Expo in Beijing Sunday after a five-day tour of Shanghai to inspect preparations for the Expo.

"My impression is very positive," he said. "The Expo site will be finished even before plan, the main buildings of the Expo site, like the China Pavilion, like the Expo centre, performing centre, the theme pavilion. They are very advanced in construction."

He said Chinese service companies were working closely with foreign participants, and the World Expo coordination group were doing their utmost to satisfy all the demands of the participants.

"There was already a very efficient team to ensure the Expo will be safe, clean, and agreeable for visitors. The transport system is excellent, in general, in spite of the hot summer and the rain in Shanghai, everything is being prepared to ensure it is a comfortable Expo for visitors," he said

Loscertales said every host country gave its personality to the Expo and the Shanghai Expo would be "different because of its scale."

"Shanghai is a world city, one of the most dynamic cities in Asia and in the World, and China is one of the leading countries in the world. Therefore, we can expect more from the Expo in China."