Singapore has its first UNESCO World Heritage site after the Botanic Gardens is granted the status at the 39th World Heritage Committee meeting held in Bonn, Germany on July 4.

The 156 year-old site is the world’s third botanic garden listed as World’s Heritage Site, following the UK’s Kew Botanic Gardens and Italy’s Padua Botanic Gardens.

Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that it is a valuable present for Singaporean people, which is concurrent with the 50th anniversary of the nation’s independence. He affirmed that the Botanic Gardens has played a crucial role in the efforts to develop the country into a Garden City.

The inscription comes after five years after a feasible study showed that the 74ha Botanic Gardens is the best candidate in the nation to receive the title. Singapore submitted the garden’s nomination to the UNESCO in January 2014.

A technical representative from UNESCO visited the Gardens and said that it is an “exceptional example of a British tropical colonial botanic garden in Southeast Asia”.-VNA