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Geneva, 5 Jun 09

Dr. Behnam (left) with Mayor Zheng. Photo: © UN-HABITAT

The Mayor of Shanghai, Mr. Han Zheng, visited Geneva at the weekend to promote Expo 2010 and meet with senior officials responsible for the Expo's giant United Nations pavilion.

At a welcoming dinner, Dr. Awni Behnam, the UN Commissioner General appraised the Mayor of the latest progress and developments in the preparations of the giant UN pavilion at Expo 2010.

Speaking at the dinner, Dr. Behnam said the theme of the Expo 2010, “Better City, Better Life,” fitted well with Shanghai. UN-HABITAT is the lead agency responsible for the UN pavilion.

“Thanks to you Mr. Mayor and the Municipal Government of Shanghai, the city has become a unique and shining example of how to meet the challenges of urbanization, rejuvenation, modernization and above all, how to evolve into a city that caters for the happiness of people, and the betterment of their life,” he said.

He added that there never has been, nor will ever be an Expo comparable to Expo 2010.

“The expo was aptly described as the “Olympics of Development,” as it will provide a unique opportunity to seek answers to the challenges of urbanization and climate change where cities are also engines of growth and economic and social inclusion with a healthy respect for the environment. It will expand our horizon and understanding of how future cities can mitigate natural disasters, deal with health pandemics, yet remain as centers of creativity, education, culture, harmony and centers for decent work for all,” Dr. Behnam said in his speech.

Mr. Zheng expressed the wish to see all organizations represented and informed them on the unprecedented response by member states participating in the Expo. He extended the support and welcome of the city of Shanghai.

He said the Chinese authorities were making every effort to facilitate the participation of international organizations. The participants then saw a short video on the Expo. The mayor held a side discussion with Dr. Behnam, at which he briefed him on the progress at the UN pavilion.

The UN Pavilion will offer a permanent exposition showcasing the work of various agencies of the world body. For details click here.

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