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Remember the faces of the poor and hungry, Pope urges Expo visitors

Francis's message is broadcast during the opening ceremony of Expo 2015 (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)

People need to stop destroying the planet and instead find ways to safeguard it and share its resources, particularly to feed the hungry, Pope Francis has told officials from around the world.

In a live video address to the opening ceremony of Expo 2015 in Milan, the Pope urged fair-goers and organisers to show real concern for the poor and to undertake concrete efforts to promote solidarity.

Otherwise, he said, the world’s fair could be part of the “paradox of abundance” that St John Paul II denounced when he noted how a small percentage of the world’s people had much more than they needed to live while so many people are starving.

Expo 2015 opened on May 1, bringing together more than 140 nations with pavilions and exhibits connected to the theme, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”

Running until October 31, the exhibits – including a Vatican pavilion – focus on guaranteeing healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet.

Pope Francis said that to ensure the motto “does not remain just a theme”, people attending Expo 2015 should make a real effort to keep in mind “the faces of the men and women who are hungry and who become sick or even die because of poor and bad nutrition”.