Singapore Botanic Gardens declared UNESCO World Heritage Site

It is Singapore’s first World Heritage site and the third Botanic Gardens to be listed as a World Heritage Site, after Kew Gardens in England and the Padua Gardens in Italy.

The decision was met with cheers from a jubilant Singapore delegation, led by Culture, Community and Youth Minister, Lawrence Wong. Others in the Singapore delegation included chief executive of the National Heritage Board Rosa Daniel and CEO of the National Parks Board, Kenneth Er.

In his thank you speech, Mr Wong said he was “deeply honoured” to have the Singapore Botanic Gardens inscribed as the nation’s first World Heritage Site. He added: “This is a very humbling experience … and I thank the Chairperson and all the members of the World Heritage Committee for the unanimous and wholehearted endorsement of the recommendation.”

“A great Jubilee year gift to Singaporeans,” said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his Facebook page. “The Gardens played an important part in making Singapore a Garden City. Besides supplying shrubs and trees for our parks and roadsides, the Gardens also trained horticulturalists in the school of ornamental horticulture.”

Mr Lee congratulated the National Heritage Board, NParks, and Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth which had worked hard for the successful inscription.

The 156-year-old Singapore attraction joins more than 1,000 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in some 160 countries. It is the third Botanic Gardens to be listed as a World Heritage Site, after Kew Gardens in England and the Padua Gardens in Italy and Singapore’s first World Heritage Site.

Singapore’s bid was the fifth to be discussed on Saturday, after China, Iran, Mongolia and South Korea.

The inscription comes almost five years after a feasibility study by the authorities found that the Botanic Gardens was Singapore’s best candidate to achieve UNESCO World Heritage status.

Singapore officially submitted the Gardens’ nomination dossier to UNESCO in January last year.

Last September, a technical assessor from the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) visited the Gardens. In May, ICOMOS recommended the Gardens to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, saying it was an “exceptional example of a British tropical colonial botanic garden in Southeast Asia”.

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