Singapore Heritage Society Press Release: Singapore Botanic Gardens as UNESCO World Heritage Site, 2 April 2013
The Singapore Heritage Society welcomes and supports the submission of tentative listing of properties comprising the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG) to UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Indeed, the Society had mooted the listing of SBG on the World Heritage Site in 2009.
The Society is also pleased to note that Singapore has finally become the 190th State Party to the 1972 World Heritage Convention on 19 June 2012. The Society learned about the ratification through the UNESCO News Release on 19 September 2012.
Moving forward, the Society hopes that there will be greater transparency with regards to the government’s plans and actions. It urges the relevant agencies to embark on consultation processes over the identification, nomination and protection of World Heritage properties with a wide variety of stakeholders including the local community and non-governmental organisations because they are required under Article 13 of the UNESCO World Heritage Convention and the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention under Article 12, 64, and 123 (see Appendix).
SBG is a repository of many histories, including standing as a testament to the colonial empire’s power and reach, the crucial risk-taking of local entrepreneurs who embarked on the rubber industry, not to mention the contribution of the many workers to the economic development of Malaya.
It is a repository that Singaporeans must be encouraged to draw from in order to feel connected to this site, share collective memories and to strengthen our national identity. SBG’s successful listing as World Heritage Site will mean little if citizens are not engaged. The Society therefore encourages efforts to engage and educate the public.
Finally, while the Society welcomes the tentative listing of SBG, it recognises that SBG is gazetted as a National Park under the Parks and Trees Act, and is thus already safe from destruction or encroachment. It urges the government to remain open to the possibility of listing other sites in Singapore that are equally deserving of recognition.
Singapore Heritage Society’s Spokespersons:
Among UNESCO’s World Heritage mission objectives are the following: (http://whc.unesco.org/en/about/)
- encourage countries to sign the World Heritage Convention and to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage;
- support States Parties’ public awareness-building activities for World Heritage conservation;
- encourage participation of the local population in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage.
World Heritage Convention:
The Committee shall co-operate with international and national governmental and non-governmental organizations having objectives similar to those of this Convention. For the implementation of its programmes and projects, the Committee may call on such organizations, particularly the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (the Rome Centre), the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), as well as on public and private bodies and individuals.
Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention:
States Parties to the Convention are encouraged to ensure the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other interested parties and partners in the identification, nomination and protection of World Heritage properties.
States Parties are encouraged to prepare their Tentative Lists with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, NGOs and other interested parties and partners.
Participation of local people in the nomination process is essential to enable them to have a shared responsibility with the State Party in the maintenance of the property. States Parties are encouraged to prepare nominations with the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders, including site managers, local and regional governments, local communities, NGOs and other interested parties.