UNEP launches Shanghai Expo Green Report
Shanghai, 18 August 2009 - The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released today its assessment of Shanghai's efforts to organize an environmentally-friendly Expo 2010 that aims to benefit not only the 70 million expected visitors but also leave a green legacy for the city's over 20 million residents.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "Since the first Expo in London in1851, world fairs have given visitors a taste of the future and the progress of human societies. The Shanghai Expo follows this historic legacy and is offering us a glimpse of a greener future."
"Like many rapidly developing cities, Shanghai faces enormous challenges in ensuring fresh air, clean water, sustainable energy, efficient transport and waste reduction for its population. The experiences of Shanghai in handling these issues provide valuable examples and lessons for other cities in China and worldwide," he added.
Since the first one, there have been a total of 40 world fairs focusing on everything from the achievements of the industrial revolution to economic progress and a call for world peace. Environmental concerns were first introduced into the Expo in 1974 in the United States. Since then, the idea of sustainable development has gained prominence. The theme of Expo 2010 is "Better City, Better Life" and focuses on Shanghai, the environment and the concerns of our times: the sustainability of urban living in a finite world.
Shanghai currently has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Since 2000, when preparation for the Expo started, the city has scaled up and accelerated its environmental initiatives and backed up those initiatives financially. By 2009 investments in environmental protection reached RMB 42 billion (US$6 billion), three times more than in 2000.
The UNEP Environmental Assessment outlines 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.