Press Releases November 2011 - UNEP Launches Final Environmental Review of the Shanghai Expo 2010 - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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UNEP Launches Final Environmental Review of the Shanghai Expo 2010

Nairobi, 29 November 2011 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released today its Final Environmental Review of the 2010 World Exposition which is a complete appraisal of the environmental and social impacts of the six-month long event with recommendations that could be replicated in future international mass events.

"There are substantial valuable recommendations provided by this Review for further consideration during the post-Expo policy planning and implementation in Shanghai, as well as in other developing countries and cities," said Wu Qizhou, Deputy Director of the

Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau at the launching event in Nairobi, Kenya.

"Expo 2010 Shanghai was an eye-opening event, showcasing the best material achievements of human civilization. It will also leave behind a rich spiritual legacy and a constant source of inspiration," he added.

"As countries gather in Durban for the climate change negotiations, the experience and innovation of Shanghai offer a glimpse into some of the pathways that local authorities can take to begin the much needed transformation to a low-carbon world," said Nick Nuttall, UNEP's acting Director of Communications and Public Information and spokesperson.

The Shanghai Expo -the largest ever with 190 countries participating and over 70 million visitors - brought the urban environment into a World Expo through its theme: Better City, Better Life.

With one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Shanghai was able to accelerate its environmental initiatives during the decade of preparations for the Expo and has backed up those initiatives financially. By 2009 investments in environmental protection reached 42 billion Renminbi (US$6 billion), three times more than in 2000.

The Review, which was conducted by two independent consultants, looks at the quantitative and qualitative environmental impact of Expo 2010 and the long-term influence on the development of Shanghai and surrounding areas.

The report acknowledged extensive efforts by the city 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.

Among the major outcomes, the Review highlighted the following:

  • The city's development of Green Transport, with the objective of making public transport the primary mode of travel. In the runup to the Expo, Shanghai built a 400-kilometers rapid transit network and introduced new energy vehicles such as electric buses and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles. Of the nearly 400,000 daily visitors to the Expo, some 92 percent used public transport.

  • Millions of Shanghai citizens participated in awareness-building campaigns for a Green Expo, including bringing their own water flasks instead of buying water bottles which avoided the disposal of millions of plastic water bottles. In addition there were also 50,000 'Green volunteers' who were trained in Green concepts and can reinforce the legacy of the Expo in their communities.

  • The strategies adopted by Shanghai resulted in a significant improvement of municipal planning and management systems, including the creation of pro-active environmental monitoring systems to ensure environmental quality trends.

  • On the Climate Change impact, there was a diverse range of mitigation projects, which are estimated to have mitigated 4,341 kilotons of CO2e before the close of the Expo.

  • To ensure energy efficient lighting, LED lighting was used in nearly 100 percent of the Expo buildings and 80 percent of the nightscape lighting.

  • As part of the Expo preparations, each pavilion was either sold and moved to a new location or had a dismantling plan so that materials could be recycled. For example, the special membrane on the outer walls of the German Pavilion was used to produce high-quality shopping bags and all salvageable equipment, including steel beams and pillars, were dismantled and recycled.

While the city worked hard for a Green Expo, the Review also notes that Shanghai is still challenged by its high dependency on coal for electricity and recommends the increased use of non-renewable sources of energy.

On air quality, the report also recommends that Shanghai should expedite the implementation for the monitoring and controling of PM 2.5 -the tiny particles of air pollution that impact human health.

While there was significant and sustained improvement in the city's air and water quality, the report recommended that, even in water-abundant cities like Shanghai, policies should be put in place to optimize conservation and usage.

UNEP has worked on the greening of other mass events such as the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, the FIFA World Cup and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. In 2008 UNEP also helped the organizers of the Shanghai Expo in developing a greening guidelines which included details on ways in which the organizers and exhibitors could reduce their impact on the environment and on using the massive appeal of the Expo to promote environmental awareness.

For more information, please contact:

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Division of Communication and Public Information Acting Director and Spokesman, Mobile +41 795 965 737 or +254 733 632 755; Email:

Theodore Oben,UNEP, Tel. +254-20-7623262, Email:

Mia Turner, UNEP, Tel+254-20-7625211, Mobile: +254-710620492, Email:

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UN Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010. Christian Lindgren



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Shanghai Expo


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