In a final visit to the Milan expo on Friday, Swiss officials deemed their country's presence at the event a success.
Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter and representatives of Presence Switzerland took stock of the country's participation at the six-month-long event with a final visit to the Swiss pavilion. Presence Switzerlandexternal link - responsible for Switzerland's image abroad - was the chief organiser of the Swiss contribution.
One in ten expo visitors went to the Swiss pavilion, which drew 2.1 million people, an average of 11,400 per day. All seven cabinet members visited the expo over the six-month period.
One-fifth of the people surveyed at the pavilion said that their opinion of Switzerland was more positive after they had visited the exhibit, primarily thanks to the content presented.
“Feed the planet, energy for life” was the theme of the expo. Switzerland won the prize for the best interpretation of the theme. At the Swiss pavilion it was presented through four silos filled with four staples: coffee, salt, water and apple rings. Visitors were invited to help themselves to the stores - until they were gone. By October 10, two of the towers were empty, a graphic demonstration of the fact that the world’s resources are limited.
According to Burkhalter, the Swiss exhibit showed clearly that every person bears responsibility for his own consumption.
Water is a central theme for Switzerland, he said. Finding international solutions for supply of this scarce resource in the next 10-15 years could help avoid crises and migration.
The Swiss foreign minister also took the occasion to speak of relations between Switzerland and Italy, on issues including taxation of border workers and migration. Platforms like the expo provide such an opportunity, he said. Switzerland was the first country to announce its participation at the expo, and did so to show that the relationship between the countries is strong.
swissinfo.ch and agencies