Expo as an example of respect for and acceptance of diversity. Despite the long queues, the projects which were decided but never completed, the judicial inquiries, in the end, the universal exhibition has been successful. According to the sole Commissioner, Joseph Hall, who has participated in the official ceremony for the celebrations of the BIE Day, a Day dedicated to the Bureau International des Expositions, “Expo was a very deep civic commitment on all levels of our society” and “a global event with high standards of quality – he has stressed – which has welcomed people of different ethnic and age groups, religions, sexual orientation, identities, and disabilities. We are proud to know that visitors have enjoyed everything about it and we hope this legacy will remain also for future Expos”.
“After this long adventure we can now celebrate the success of Expo 2015 Milan – commented the secretary general of BIE, Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales -. This exhibition managed to create a constructive dialog between governments and civil society on the topic ‘Feed the world, energy for life’, which lies at the base of our future”. Loscertales has congratulated with the Italian Government and with the organizers “on their commitment, determination, and enthusiasm”.
Put aside pleasantries, what will the central question of Expo 2015 leave behind? On the whole, the “Charter of Milan”, the document on the right to food and water. Currently, about 800 million people around the world suffer from chronic hunger, and more than two billion people are malnourished. Yet, every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted while earth’s resources, forests, and seas are exploited in an unsustainable way. We need to wake up to this reality; awareness can no longer be put off.
Someone has defined it ‘the Kyoto protocol of nutrition’, but in the reality of the situation it is something more. The Kyoto protocol was a commitment between countries. Whereas in this case, the first ones to make this commitment are people who, starting from May 1 made it to sign this agreement at the universal exposition at Palazzo Italia or online, on the site of the Charter. There are more than 50 Heads of State and Government who have signed in Milan and over a million people who have done so before, last October 16 last, the text was delivered to UN secretary Ban Ki-moon. “We women and men, citizens of this planet – recites the presented Charter – endorse this document to make precise commitments with regard to the right to food. We believe it should be considered a fundamental human right”. We “consider lack of access to healthy, sufficient, and nutritious food, as well as to clean water and energy to be a violation of human dignity”. The commitment of the single individual is not to waste and ”to consume only the amount of food sufficient to meet their requirements”, to recycle and regenerate, and take into account the impact on the environment. These commitments, which involve also associations, namely the so-called civil society, and business, call to respect the environment and promote forms of work that do not exploit, but contribute to the realization of people. There are also requests to the governments to ensure the right to food, protect soil, focus on research, and fight wastage.
What else will it leave behind? Each universal exhibition has a symbol. Whereas the Eiffel Tower in Paris, built for the 1889 Expo, has become one of the most well-known monuments in the world, what is destined to remain from the exhibition in Milan is the tree of life. Not only in the heart of the visitors who for six months have admired its performances of lights, sounds and colors, but also physically in the center of the Lake Arena in front of Palazzo Italia.
Thus, today after six months of huge numbers, turnstiles and metal detectors will close at 17 to avoid everything to be exhausted beyond limits: the visitors will be able to remain on the site to celebrate until midnight. The curtain falls on the event of records: over 21 million visitors (including 2 million children), a third of which foreigners, 60 political leaders, from Putin to Merkel and Michelle Obama, thousands of events, debates, concerts, and shows. The Tree of Life alone has offered 1260 shows with music, water games and special effects: to admire Expo’s symbol installation, 14 million people have posted eight hundred thousand photos on FB.