25 June 10 - Better City, Better Life: Science, Technology, Innovation and Urban Future

Science, Technology, InnovationThe opening ceremony of the 2010 World Expo thematic forum on "Science, Technology, Innovation (STI) and Urban Future" took place on 20 June in Wuxi, China. The two-day forum was co-organized by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, 2010 Shanghai World Expo Executive Committee, UNCTAD and the municipal government of Wuxi.

One of the greatest challenges facing many developing countries today is the rapid growth of their cities, which is outstripping the rate of industrialisation.

Historically, cities were always the places where […] influences coalesced and produced economic and social benefits, which sustained the expansion of urban life and promoted national economic growth.

Supachai Panitchpakdi
Secretary-General of UNCTAD

"In an urban context, the future of our cities, one that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable, will most certainly depend on our ability to capture and harness the benefits of science and technological innovation. But to do so, there is a need for international cooperation, technology transfer and building indigenous science, technology and innovation (STI) capabilities", said Dr.Supachai in his opening statement.

Other speakers addressing the opening included the mayor of Shanghai, Mr. Han Zhen, and the Governor of Jiangsu Province, Luo Zhi Jun. The Forum also heard form Mr. Wan Gang, Minister of Science and Technology of China and three Nobel laureates: Mr. Tsung-Dao Lee, Mr. Barry J. Marshall, and Mr. Yuan Longping, known as "The Father of Hybrid Rice".

Minister Wan acknowledged the increasing importance of STI in promoting social and economic development in cities. The Shanghai World Expo therefore offers a useful platform for sharing experiences and exchanging views on future urban development. It can also promote the development and diffusion of new and emerging technologies, with a view to tackling common challenges faced by all nations, in the areas of food, energy, climate change and public health.

The opening was attended by nearly 800 exhibitors, experts, representatives of Chinese provinces and cities, and the media. The Forum, which included a plenary Conference and five parallel sessions, covered topical questions such as:

  • What is the role of science and technology innovation in urban security and sustainable development?

  • How to improve cities' overall competitiveness through science and technology innovation?

  • How will science and technology innovation lead us to a better quality of life in the future?

Focusing on the different aspects of safety, development, competitiveness, and lifestyle, the different sessions will connect science and technology innovation with the Expo theme of "Better City, Better Life".

On the margin of the Forum, the Secretary-General met with Minister Wan. The Minister indicated highlighted the fruitful cooperation between UNCTAD and China, for example in the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). Mr. Wan said that he would like the CSTD to promote the exchange of successful national experiences, particularly in the area of renewable energy technologies. China is now one of the world's leaders in the supply and consumption of renwable energy.

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