SHANGHAI - Participants at the Shanghai World Expo jointly issued the Shanghai Declaration on Sunday as a "summary of the substantive achievements" of the 184-day event, looking to innovations as solutions in tackling the challenges of urban development.
The Shanghai Declaration is also "an expression of the shared aspirations of people around the world for a 'Better City, Better Life'", according to the statement released at the Summit Forum on the sidelines of the Expo, which is set to conclude later here Sunday.
The participants came to consensus, through exhibitions of pavilions, showcases of urban best practices and exchanges, that people's understanding and pursuit of a better life are both the foundations and the engines of urban development.
It is necessary to re-examine the relationship between people, cities and the planet, said the statement.
Rapid urbanization and industrialization have benefited humankind, but have also brought "unprecedented challenges", including population explosion, traffic congestion, environmental pollution, resource shortages, urban poverty and cultural conflicts.
The participants pledged to build cities that forge harmony between diverse people, between development and environment and between cultural legacies and future innovations.
They proposed in the statement that cities should promote the use of renewable energy sources and build low-carbon eco-cities, and pursue inclusive and balanced growth.
Efforts should be made to promote scientific and technological innovation as a path to development, it said, urging more investment in information and communication technology infrastructure to strengthen services across multiple sectors, and to build an intelligent digital nervous system supporting urban operations.
Cities should pursue cultural innovation based on respect for cultural traditions and the preservation of cultural diversity to generate lasting momentum for urban and human development, it said.
They should enhance urban planning to promote a civil, safe and livable urban neighborhoods, and coordinate balanced development with rural regions through the provision of services and infrastructure, it said.
The declaration also proposed that October 31, the closing day of the World Expo 2010, should be nominated as World Better Cities Day, in a bid to recall, renew and advance ideas and practices of the Shanghai Expo for future development.
It called upon the world to promote sustainable urban development, foster cooperation and exchanges among cities and regions, and share experiences and lessons in urbanization.
The Expo opened on May 1 in Shanghai, China's financial hub, for a six-month run with the theme of "Better City, Better Life", with 246 countries and international organizations taking part.
The number of visitors since May 1 broke the previous record of 64.22 million marked at the 1970 Osaka Expo in mid-October, and exceeded the targeted 70 million on October 24.
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