D-Day for Botanic Gardens' heritage bid

The 156-year-old Botanic Gardens draws more than four million visitors annually. The Singapore icon was nominated in 2012 for Unesco status and official documents for the bid were submitted last year. A decision is expected to be announced as early
The 156-year-old Botanic Gardens draws more than four million visitors annually. The Singapore icon was nominated in 2012 for Unesco status and official documents for the bid were submitted last year. A decision is expected to be announced as early as tomorrow. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG
Singapore could know by this week if the popular Botanic Gardens gets to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Unesco World Heritage Committee will make its decision over the next few days. The 156-year-old Singapore icon was nominated in 20
Singapore could know by this week if the popular Botanic Gardens gets to be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The Unesco World Heritage Committee will make its decision over the next few days. The 156-year-old Singapore icon was nominated in 2012 and documents for the bid were submitted last year. Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong, who is in Bonn for the Unesco World Heritage Committee meeting, said he was hopeful. "We go into that meeting with some confidence and optimism that we will have a good outcome..." he told local station 938 Live. A panel of experts had recommended the bid to the committee in May.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Outcome soon on Botanic Gardens' Unesco bid

The Singapore Botanic Gardens could be listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site by this week, if a committee gives the green light.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong will attend the 39th session of the Unesco World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn, Germany, today with Singapore officials.

A result is expected to be announced as early as tomorrow.

Mr Wong, who also chairs the Singapore National Commission for Unesco, told local station 938 Live: ''We go into that meeting with some confidence and optimism that we will have a good outcome...

''We must be prepared for any questions thatmaybe asked.''

The Botanic Gardens' Unesco World Heritage Site bid will be discussed and decided over the next fewdays by the 21-membercommittee at its annual meeting, which will end on July 8 this year, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY)said yesterday.

In May, the International Council of Monuments and Sites, a panel of experts which advises the committee, had recommended the Gardens' bid.

MCCY said: ''The bid signals Singapore'scommitmentto the conservation of a Gardens that Singaporeans and visitors have a fondness for, and can continue to enjoy in years to come.''

To qualify for the Unesco mark, sites must have ''outstanding universal value'', which means they must occupy a unique position in the history of the world, and not just in their local communities.

The 156-year-old Botanic Gardens was nominated in 2012 for Unesco status and official documents for the bid were submitted last year.

Spanning 74ha, it showcases more than 10,000 types of plants and draws more than four million visitors annually.

If the Gardens' bid is successful, it will join the ranks of Unesco World Heritage Sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia and London's Royal Botanic Gardens.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 03, 2015, with the headline 'D-Day for Botanic Gardens' heritage bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe