The Singapore Botanic Gardens was successfully inscribed as Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site on 4 July 2015. The 21 member World Heritage Committee unanimously gave their support towards the inscription of the Gardens.
The 3-year long journey was a result of the strong collaboration between the National Heritage Board, National Parks Board, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the public, community, and experts who gave their support for the bid. Inscribing the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a World Heritage Site
To nominate a World Heritage Site, a State Party must first submit a Tentative List to UNESCO, which recognizes sites in a State Party’s territory that would be further researched on for nomination as a World Heritage Site in the near future. This is an important step since the UNESCO World Heritage Committee cannot consider a nomination for inscription on the World Heritage List unless the property has already been included on the State Party’s Tentative List.
To be included on the World Heritage List, sites must be of Outstanding Universal Value and meet at least one out of ten selection criteria. In December 2012, Singapore placed the Singapore Botanic Gardens on its Tentative List, indicating interest to inscribe it as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In January 2014, the official Nomination Dossier, inclusive of a Nomination Document and Site Management Plan, was submitted to UNESCO to indicate Singapore’s formal World Heritage Site nomination. An assessment of the Gardens was conducted by an international advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), who, in May 2015, released a recommendation for the Gardens to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Committee deliberated on the nomination and decided that the Gardens is worthy of the inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO’s decision on the Garden’s nomination was received on 4 July 2015 at the 39th World Heritage Conference held in Bonn, Germany.
The Singapore Botanic Gardens is a green lung in the midst of bustling Singapore. More than just a cherished spot by Singaporeans and visitors, it is a site steeped in over 150 years of history. From the Gardens’ early years, its directors have made significant contributions to the social and economic environment in the region – through the extensive and influential research conducted on plants. The Gardens has also remained remarkably intact in terms of its layout, despite the development that has taken place outside its confines in the rest of Singapore.