Opening ceremony of the DEVNET Pavilion

Dear Ladies and Gentleman

I may say that today is one of those days that DEVNET has been preparing for a quarter of a century, since 1985 when China became one of the nine first founding members of our international information network.

During these 25 years, DEVNET always tried to do its best to support and communicate to the rest of the world the opening and reform process that China, under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping, its government and its Communist Party was starting to carry on.

Above all, for DEVNET, for its people who run DEVNET bureaux in 4 continents, for the hundred of thousands of beneficiaries of our information for development projects and programmes, and mainly for DEVNET China which, thanks to its efforts and capacities make this possible, our Pavilion wants to symbolize the strength of DEVNET’s friendship with the People’s Republic of China, with its central and local governments, its cities, with which we feel proud to work and cooperate with since our inception.

As a further proof of the extremely significance that we give to our links with China and to our participation in the World Expo, there is the fact that Mr. Boutrus Boutrus Ghali, former Secretary General of the United Nations, accepted to be the Honorary Chairman of DEVNET Pavilion. 

And as Mr. Boutrus Boutrus Ghali states in his congratulatory letter: “The DEVNET Pavilion, of which I am honored to serve as Honorary Chairman, portrays initiatives related to human development, in the economic, environmental and social dimensions. It is a vivid demonstration of the theme of Shanghai World Expo "Better City, Better Life".

One of the aims of the Shanghai EXPO is to promote cross-cultural dialogue. At a time when our world is becoming smaller on account of our increased connectivity, cross-cultural dialogue becomes essential to avoid conflict, promote world peace and build a safer and more compassionate world.

China represents a dynamic, rapidly developing society, which comprises one sixth of humanity.

China is experiencing the challenges of accelerated development and recognizes the need to conceptualize new ways to address them. If China can manage its economic development while containing its ecological footprint, it will have achieved something that everyone in the world can learn from.

China is endowed with ancient wisdom and traditions that enrich its trajectory towards sustainability. The integration of these values into the developmental equation needs is already being actively explored. One of the core principles of traditional Chinese culture, as President Hu Jintao use to remark, is harmony between the government and the Chinese people, between humans and nature.

Sustainable development can only be achieved, if the interests of all members of society today, and of those yet to be born, are respected.  Both social equity and inter-generational justice are essential, for civilization to survive in the long term.  Being respectful to the needs of past, present and future generations is key to the Confucian view which underlies China’s developmental and political thinking.

It must be noted that Shanghai World Expo takes place 10 years after world leaders adopted the Millennium Development Goals and two years before the 20th celebration of the Earth Summit.

According to the 2009 Millennium Development Goals Report :“Progress towards these goals is now threatened by sluggish — or even negative — economic growth, diminished resources, fewer trade opportunities for the developing countries and possible reductions in aid flows from donor nations.”

The impressive economic reforms carried out in China over the past few decades have resulted in spectacular progress and dramatic reductions of the number of poor (around 400 million people got out of poverty in the past 25 years). The country is on track to achieve, or has already achieved, most targets under goals 1 to 4 and 6” the said document declares…

The Shanghai World Expo represents a milestone in the construction of not only "Better Cities" but also a "Better World", a more equitable and sustainable world, that fulfills the aspirations of all people for a life with full dignity now and in the future.

This “better world” that the humankind deserves will be impossible without the key role China is called and is prepared to play.

DEVNET is ready with modesty, but with deep conviction, to facilitate and create the best conditions for the consolidation of cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

We did it because we are convinced that none of the major issues confronting the world community today can be resolved without China. And China cannot achieve its own goals and aspirations except through engagement at the global level.