The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, today signed the Memorandum of Understanding and Participation Contract on behalf UN-HABITAT, the Lead Agency coordinating the United Nations System’s participation in the Shanghai World Expo 2010 which will focus on cities.
Mrs. Tibaijuka also officiated at the ground breaking ceremony for the UN Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010 and held a meeting with Mr. Yu Zhengsheng, the Communist Party Secretary of Shanghai on the UN’s participation in Expo 2010 on Better City, Better Life.
Speaking at the ceremony for signing the MOU and Participation Contract, Mrs. Tibaijuka said the challenge for the international community, especially for UN-HABITAT which is mandated to promote sustainable urban development, was to make urbanization and globalization work for all people, instead of leaving billions behind or on the margins.
“The wealth and benefit of economic globalization are not enjoyed by everyone, especially those residing in the growing cities of the developing countries where urbanization has not been associated with industrialization and economic development.
“Urban poverty is already becoming a severe, pervasive but largely unacknowledged feature of urban life. It is characterized by low income and high unemployment, informal housing in squatter settlements, poor health and education, inadequate access to electricity, clean drinking water, sanitation and other basic services,” she said.
“Shanghai Expo 2010 shall offer a unique opportunity to participants across China and the world to meet, to share and to learn from each other how urban life can be improved both in the developed and developing cities,” she added.
The Executive Director said the UN Pavilion, themed as One Earth and One UN, would showcase the challenges and opportunities of globalization and urbanization, and the best practices of the participating UN agencies in achieving the objective of peace and development of the United Nations, through working with all interested stakeholders of urban development, who share the common future of the Earth.
Among those who attended the ceremony were Mr. Hong Hao, the Director General, Bureau of Shanghai World Expo Coordination and the Commissioner General, Ambassador Hua Junduo.
Mrs. Tibaijuka thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China for inviting the United Nations to participate in the Expo.
“This ground breaking event of the UN Pavilion is just the first step of our long march towards its successful opening to the general public from 1 May to 31 October 2010.
We shall work more closely with our sister agencies in the United Nations System, the Expo Bureau and other stakeholders to build this Pavilion as a platform, not only to entertain our visitors during the six months of the Expo in 2010, but also to contribute to the creation of better living conditions in cities by demonstrating and sharing the best practices of the United Nations System in facilitating the sustainable and harmonious urbanization,” she concluded.