UNESCO delegates laud S’pore’s nomination of Botanic Gardens as World Heritage Site
BONN — To a man, all 21 members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee were so impressed with Singapore's nomination bid that every single one of them expressed their support and congratulations - an uncommon sight in the history of the committee's deliberations - even before the final decision to list the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a Unesco World Heritage Site was delivered today (July 4).
BONN — To a man, all 21 members of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee were so impressed with Singapore's nomination bid that every single one of them expressed their support and congratulations - an uncommon sight in the history of the committee's deliberations - even before the final decision to list the Singapore Botanic Gardens as a UNESCO World Heritage Site was delivered today (July 4).
At the start of the session to assess Singapore’s nomination, Ms Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent delegate to UNESCO who also chaired the session, said: “I must add here that each and every committee member wishes to take the floor on this nomination.”
By the time the 8th speaker spoke, some committee members had already started walking up to the Singapore delegation to offer their congratulations, even though the final results were yet to be announced.
The Botanic Gardens joins a list of 11 other newly-inscribed World Heritage Sites announced so far by the committee at the 39th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Bonn, Germany.
Speaking on Singapore’s nomination bid, Ms Maria Theresa P Lazaro, the Philippines’ permanent delegate to UNESCO, said the well-preserved site illustrates the British tropical botanic gardens that has been playing a key role in advances in scientific knowledge in the world. She also lauded the gardens’ exceptional plant collection, the digital inventories of living plants and archival plans, among other things.
Other delegates praised the nomination dossier, describing it as “well-prepared”, and a “perfect example of how (a) nomination should be presented”.
Mr Jose Filipe Mendes Moraes Cabral, Portugal’s permanent delegate to UNESCO, said: “With more than 150 years of history, the 74-hectare gardens hold an unique and significant place in the history of Singapore and the region and have succeeded in encapsulating natural and cultural heritage over all these years.”
Mr Huseyin Avni Botsali, Turkey’s permanent delegate to UNESCO said the inscription of Botanic Gardens as a World Heritage Site was a “source of inspiration”. He added that Singapore’s “remarkable commitment to the state of integrity of the site has overwhelmed” the committee. “This small state with the obligation of maximizing the use of every square centimeter of land is making a very generous contribution by creating the site. We believe Singapore will not only have its first site inscribed by the Botanic Gardens, but it will become a leader in this area, and inspire and lead all other interested parties and stakeholders who have similar sites,” he said.
Speaking to the Singapore media on the sidelines of the session, UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre director Kishore Rao said the committee was unanimous in its approval of the recommendation from the International Council on Monuments and Sites’ (Icomos), to list Botanic Gardens as a World Heritage Site. He noted that the members recognised that the gardens’ values were outstanding, and “therefore felt that they needed to endorse the recommendation, so everybody spoke in support of it”. “It’s not always, in relation to all these inscription proposals, that such a unanimous decision takes place, not everybody speaks,” said Dr Rao.
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