Opening Ceremony

55th Session of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific

Shanghai, China
13 September 2004

Madame Wu Yi, Mr Chairman of the Regional Committee for the Western Pacific, Honourable Ministers, Mr Mayor, Dr ST Han, Regional Director Emeritus, Distinguished Representatives, Colleagues,

[Opening greetings in Chinese]

I would like to thank the Government of China and the Municipality of Shanghai for their generous hospitality and warm welcome to this session of the Regional Committee. These annual gatherings in each Region of WHO are an important event in the life of our Organization. We very much appreciate all the care you have taken to ensure that this one is a success.

I first visited Shanghai in 1984, exactly 20 years ago. I am impressed by the changes that have taken place here since then. The progress and changes that are going on now in China are dramatically visible in this city. Those of us who come here today from other parts of the world are happy to see it with our own eyes.

Coming back to the Western Pacific Region is like coming home. Having worked for several years in the Pacific Islands, then in the Regional Office for China and other countries of the Region, I have many fond memories. They include excellent colleagues and friends, exciting challenges, learning a lot and sharing in many achievements.

That experience has given me great confidence in the people and the countries of this Region. I know that with all the diversity of strengths and talents that are here you will continue to make a uniquely valuable contribution to world health.

I will have more to say about this later in the day. In the meantime, I would just like to join the other speakers in warmly welcoming you. I wish us all every success at this session of the Regional Committee.

Thank you