Yes, Botanic Gardens is a World Heritage Site
156-year-old landmark gets resounding nod from all 21 members of UNESCO committee
By Melody Zaccheus, The Sunday Times, 5 Jul 2015
Singapore now has a UNESCO World Heritage Site to call its own.
The 156-year-old Botanic Gardens received a resounding "yes" from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee yesterday at its annual meeting, held in Bonn, Germany, this year.
Members of Singapore's delegation, including Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, received handshakes and hugs from the committee's 21 state members, in what was described as a rare outpouring of support.
Mr Wong called it an amazing moment. When the idea to nominate the Gardens was floated five years ago, sceptics wondered if the site was worthy of the accolade.
"We have seen the overwhelming support of international experts... It means we do have something of exceptional value in Singapore. I think it gives us a tremendous sense of pride that we have a site worthy of being a World Heritage Site."
Back home, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in a Facebook post that the accolade is "a great Jubilee year gift to Singaporeans", highlighting the Gardens' key role in making the country a Garden City.
The Gardens joins the likes of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Cambodia's Angkor with its magnificent temples and China's Great Wall on the world heritage list.
There are over 1,000 sites on the list, but the Gardens is its first botanic gardens in Asia and only the third in the world, besides the Orto botanico di Padova in Italy and England's Royal Botanic Gardens.
After UNESCO's experts presented their evaluation of the Gardens' bid, the floor was open and all 21 members, including Japan, Turkey and Germany, announced their support. They lauded the Gardens' "vast botanical values" and "excellent landscape design".