The bumpy Road to Expo 2015

Special Feature - Italy - 02 Jun 2015
Expo 2015: Political scandals, high expectations and ambitious plans for the Earth's future. by Silvia Favasuli
The Universal Exposition 2015 (Expo) has started in Milan the first day of May and will continue for six months till the end of October. “Feeding the Planet, energy for life” is the theme that made Milan be selected in 2008 as the host-city for the exhibition. Since then, the path towards the opening hasn’t been simple. Italy has been showing some of its negative traits, corruption and unreliability above all.

The biggest scandal broke out in 2014, the same year in which Italy reached the top position among European countries in the Corruption Perception Index provided by Transparency International. In that year, six men (among which there are politicians, building contractors and even the then-manager of Expo Angelo Paris) have been charged with criminal conspiracy, bribery and bid-tampering charge during the appointment of the construction contracts for the exhibition ground.

What shocked most the country, was the fact that three of the men involved, Gianstefano Frigerio, Primo Greganti and Luigi Grillo, had already been part of the Tangentopoli affair, or "Bribesville", during the early Nineties, when more than half of the members of the Italian Parliament were put under indictment.

But this Expo has also started something that never happened before in the history of the Universal Expositions: the scientific community, civil society organizations and institutions have been involved in a debate that lead to the writing of "The Charter of Milan", the cultural legacy of the exhibition through which the Italian government aims at launching a new right, the "right to food for future generations".

The sustainable use of the Planet's resources is the key issue that has been discussed by experts all around the world, called upon to face four main topics, as the economic and production models that ensure sustainable development; how to produce sufficient quantities of healthy food without damaging water resources and biodiversity; which are the best practices to reduce inequalities within cities; and finally how to think about food as something that provides a socio-cultural identity.

By signing the result of this discussions that is "The Charter of Milan", worldwide institutions, associations and private organizations will take on the responsibility to guarantee a fair and sustainable access to food to future generations.

Even if the exhibition ground wasn’t through-and-through ready by 1th May, Milan will be welcoming the 20 million visitors expected with new and encouraging ideas.

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