Botanic Gardens submits bid to be World Heritage Site

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Botanic Gardens has submitted the official documents in its bid to become the country's first Unesco World Heritage Site.

Unesco, a United Nations body, may decide on the Gardens' nomination as early as June next year, said the Gardens, National Parks Board (NParks) and National Heritage Board (NHB) in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Unesco World Heritage Sites are cultural or natural sites that have been deemed to have outstanding universal value.

There are 981 in the world.

Those in South-east Asia include Angkor in Cambodia, and Malacca and George Town in Malaysia.

Singapore's nomination dossier includes two documents. One outlines the 155-year-old Gardens' historical, economic and socio- cultural importance.

The 74ha park, which draws more than four million visitors a year, was instrumental in pioneering rubber cultivation and tapping techniques, and orchid breeding.

Its botanical research and conservation have also put it on the international map.

The other document is a proposed site management plan, which outlines Singapore's long-term commitment to protect the Gardens if it is awarded World Heritage status.

The joint statement said that more than 200 pieces of feedback were submitted during a four-month public consultation process led by NHB and NParks.

"Most participants contributed memories of the Gardens or pledged support for the bid," read the statement.

The Gardens' director Nigel Taylor said much thought and effort had gone into the bid over the last two years, adding: "We are heartened that the Gardens has an important place in the hearts of many Singaporeans."

NHB chief executive Rosa Daniel said the submission marks a "significant milestone" in Singapore's bid for its first Unesco World Heritage Site.

"We greatly appreciate the feedback, memories and support," she said. "They are testament to how Singaporeans are passionate enough about our heritage."

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.