ICOMOS recommends the Singapore Botanic Gardens for inscription as UNESCO World Heritage Site
16 May 2015
On 15 May, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) released a recommendation for the Singapore Botanic Gardens (the Gardens) to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its evaluation will guide the discussion of Singapore’s bid at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) to be held in Bonn, Germany, from 28 June to 8 July 2015. The WHC will assess the recommendation of ICOMOS and make the final decision as to whether the Singapore Botanic Gardens will be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
ICOMOS is an international, non-governmental organisation appointed to provide the WHC with expert evaluations of properties proposed for inscription on the World Heritage List. While studying the Gardens, ICOMOS took into account factors such as the Gardens’ universal heritage value and its site management plan. In September 2014, ICOMOS visited Singapore for an on-site inspection and assessment. Overall, ICOMOS has found the Gardens to be of outstanding universal value, having fulfilled two of 10 criteria used by the WHC to determine which properties should be inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With ICOMOS’s recommendation, the Gardens stands a good chance for inscription. However, the final decision still lies with the WHC. The results of Singapore’s bid will be announced at the 39th Session of the WHC in Bonn, July 2015.
Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth and Chairman of the Singapore National Commission for UNESCO said: “I am delighted by ICOMOS‟ recommendation for the Singapore Botanic Gardens to be inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a very positive step forward for our bid, and it goes to show that in the eyes of international experts, the Gardens has a strong case to qualify as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Many people have been working hard on this bid for the past year and a half. We’ll be going to the WHC meeting in Bonn with greater confidence, following this recommendation. We hope to be able to bring back good news, as a Jubilee Gift for Singapore and all Singaporeans.”
Mrs Rosa Daniel, Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Board said: “The process of putting up Singapore’s inaugural bid to inscribe the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site within less than 2 years has not been easy. ICOMOS has high standards and puts nominated sites through a rigorous and independent assessment. For our well-loved Gardens, we had to demonstrate outstanding universal value beyond Singapore and a strong commitment to sustain this through a robust site management plan. This was made possible by government agencies working closely together and the strong support from experts, community groups and the public. We are heartened that our collective efforts have been recognised by ICOMOS. This is a big step forward in our efforts to commemorate and preserve our cultural heritage”.
Mr Kenneth Er, CEO of the National Parks Board said: “We are encouraged by ICOMOS’ recommendation to inscribe the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gardens’ nomination as Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage site is a recognition of its rich cultural heritage. The Gardens was pivotal in making possible the rubber and orchid industries, and in Singapore’s greening journey. It also played an important social role as the venue where our Founding Prime Minister Mr Lee Kuan Yew rallied the multi-racial nation towards social cohesion in 1959. We hope that the World Heritage Committee’s decision later this year will be a favourable one.”