The spectacular opening ceremony of Expo 2019 Beijing took place on April 29th, 2019 in the Yanqing district of Beijing in China. The Expo is an A1 International Horticultural Exhibition approved by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH). Inaugural speeches from AIPH President Mr. Bernard Oosterom, BIE President Mr. Vicente Loscertales and Chinese President Xi Jinping highlighted the importance of the expo’s theme ‘Live Green Live Better’. Over 900 representatives attended the ceremony including foreign heads of state, special envoys from eleven countries and heads of international organisations.
Blooming at the foothills of the Great Wall, Expo 2019 Beijing demonstrates the concept of human-nature harmony. In his speech, Mr. Oosterom gave sincere thanks to the Chinese President and government for attributing great significance to the expo and supporting the event. He also thanked the Beijing Municipal Government and participants, for their work in creating the event. The expo supports the role of AIPH in promoting the importance of plants and landscapes in towns and cities to improve the environment, health and wellbeing of citizens. Mr. Oosterom said that: “China is helping to lead the way in promoting green development and that due to the efforts of the China Flower Association (CFA), a member of AIPH, the industry has experienced huge growth. Expo 2019 Beijing is a testament to how far the Chinese horticulture industry has come”. He added: “this expo will bring the attention of the world to what China is doing to help the environment and improve the lives of citizens. Expos like this bring nations together around a common cause. Its legacy will be a greener environment for generations to come.”
President Xi Jinping’s speech delivered a powerful statement confirming China’s commitment to ecological civilisation and green development. The construction of ecological civilisation is included in China’s national development plan. The President stated that the building of a beautiful China has become the common aspiration of the Chinese people and that construction has now entered a fast-track.
The expo site is designed to champion the spirit of respecting nature, integrating nature and pursuing better lives. President Xi Jinping warned that the degradation of ecology will lead to the collapse of civilisation and that industrialisation has led to irrevocable ecological damage. He urged: “We must follow the laws of nature, protect the ecological environment and go down the path of green development – pursuing the harmony of man and nature. He also stated that “improving the ecological environment is actually developing productivity and that sound ecology harbours unlimited economic value and can incessantly create comprehensive benefits realising sustainable ecological, social and economic development. Ecological governance must be dealt with a sense of emergency and commitment and we must seek cooperation and joint efforts. Faced with ecological and environmental challenges, all human beings have a shared future. Only if we come together can we extend the concept of green development and take the path to an ecological civilisation.”
The opening ceremony was held in the expo’s Guirui Theatre and included richly colourful cultural and artistic performances. Hosted for six months the Expo covers over 500 hectares with over 100 exhibiting countries and international organisations, Expo 2019 Beijing is the largest of its kind ever to be held. An estimated 16 million visitors will attend the park and take part in almost 2500 different cultural events including academic conferences, horticultural competitions and flower parades. Within the park, 50,000 trees have been preserved and 100,000 trees and shrubs planted to improve the condition of wetlands, purify water and provide a habitat for migratory birds, embodying the expo’s theme ‘Live Green Live Better’.