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[Herald interview] Yeosu Expo to highlight climate

BIE chief says 2012 expo addresses timely issues, full of ideas


The 2012 Expo in Yeosu will bring oceans and climate change to the center of international attention, Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary general of Bureau International des Expositions said Wednesday.

Loscertales had high hopes for the upcoming expo in Korea’s southwestern coastal city, he said, despite its smaller size than the most recent expo in Shanghai, which ended in December.

“This relatively small-scale expo will be a very large one in terms of ideas, displays and opportunities to make a real difference globally,” he told reporters in downtown Seoul.

The BIE head particularly stressed the significance of the theme “The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Activities,” saying that it addresses a very timely issue.

“In the wake of the terrible disaster that hit Japan a few weeks ago, the theme of Yeosu has become more relevant. It will have a strong positive influence on the event,” he said.

“It speaks to the importance of the preservation of coasts and oceans as many countries may face similar risks.”

The Yeosu Expo, slated for May 12-Aug. 12 of next year, is the first of its kind devoted to the subject of oceans. 
Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales (left), secretary general of Bureau International des Expositions, and 2012 Yeosu Expo Organizing Committee chairman Kang Dong-suk attend the Second International Planning Meeting for Expo 2012 in Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap News)
Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales (left), secretary general of Bureau International des Expositions, and 2012 Yeosu Expo Organizing Committee chairman Kang Dong-suk attend the Second International Planning Meeting for Expo 2012 in Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap News)

The organizer of the 2012 World Expo in Yeosu hopes the global fair will help lay the foundation for an eco-friendly development of oceans, which they call a “blue economy.”

In order for Yeosu to be a success, Loscertales called for more active promotion of the event, both in and outside the country.

This would also help improve understanding and raise awareness among the public regarding the issue of climate change and oceans, he said.

Loscertales suggested that the country could realize this goal by maximizing the use of its cutting-edge information technology.

A cyber exposition of the event to be offered via the internet, in particular, will help boost accessibility and participation from people around the world, even those who are not in Yeosu, he said.

Meanwhile, Loscertales projected that the expo will also be able to stimulate the local economy, as participating countries will make considerable financial investments here.

The Korean government also believes the global event will spur not only regional economic development but also boost balanced domestic development.

The expo is projected to generate about 12.3 trillion won ($11 billion) worth of production and create about 5.7 trillion won in added value, as well as 79,000 jobs.

Loscertales, along with around 250 representatives from participating countries, is in the country through Thursday to attend a planning meeting hosted by the Yeosu Expo Organizing Committee.

Following a conference in Seoul, the group on Thursday will move to Yeosu, about 455 kilometers south of Seoul, to visit the expo venue, the committee said.

The three-month expo is expected to attract more than 8 million visitors from more than 100 countries around the world, according to the organizing committee.

So far, 92 nations and six international agencies have expressed their intent to participate in the expo, it said.

By Koh Young-aah (youngaah@heraldcorp.com)
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