Statement at the Charity Banquet, DESA Week at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo

Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening and welcome to this banquet which follows a remarkable cultural performance.

I am so pleased to be here at the Shanghai Expo during this week of activities that feature my department at the United Nations – the Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

It has been an honor to participate in today’s forum. The speakers, including the entrepreneurs in our panel discussion, have shared some new and interesting ideas and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from them.

With the world facing many overlapping crises today, it is more important than ever that we exchange ideas, thoughts and opinions with one another.

Only through dialogue and diplomacy can nations devise strategies that will help us emerge from the recent financial, food and energy crises.

And only through events like this Forum – with the backdrop of the entire World Expo – can people from different socio-economic levels, backgrounds and nationalities come together and learn about one another. These types of information exchanges are also crucial for building cross-cultural understanding, economic stability and peace.

Today’s programme has enhanced our understanding of cultural diversity and how to better care for our world.

I commend the organizers on the colorful events we have seen under the theme of “Caring for the Planet, Embracing the Future, and Diversifying our Civilization”. I am sure the rest of the week’s programme will be very impressive as well.

These events contribute to the larger theme of the Expo on sustainable urban development – a “better city, better life”.

Thanks to the Expo, millions of people across the world are more aware of the precarious nature of our environment, especially our urban environments.

Whether they have visited this grand show in Shanghai in person, or only read about it on the internet or in newspapers, they have learned about the urgent need for governments, companies and the public at large to work toward a “green” economy.

A green economy is one that supports the economic and social needs of people and ensures that our environmental resources are used in safe, sustainable ways. This Expo has highlighted countless products and techniques that can make our economies greener. The level of scientific and technological inventiveness seen here has been unprecedented

So people have left Shanghai not just more aware of the problems facing our environments and economies. They have left with ideas on how to make small changes in their lives and in their cities that lead to large collective dividends. Companies have learned more sustainable ways of doing business. Government ministers have left with new strategies for greening their development strategies.

And everyone who has come to the World Expo 2010 has left feeling inspired. Inspired by the breadth and depth of cultural diversity and riches here. Inspired by the energy here, the hope we feel from so many nations coming together to plan for better cities and better lives for us all.

On behalf of the United Nations, I extend my sincere thanks to the organizers, co-organizers, sponsors, private sector firms and the media for making today’s event and DESA Week possible.

I propose a toast to the success of this week and its cultural performances, and to the health and happiness of all of you. Cheers!

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