The UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, sits at the forefront of global plant and fungal research. Recognised as one of the most biodiverse places on earth, the UNESCO designation provides a global resource for plant and fungal science.
For instance, Kew’s long-standing collaboration with Ethiopian researchers and important work on Ethiopian food crops including the plant Enset, a staple food source known for its remarkable resilience to changing climate conditions, encouraged an Ethiopian delegation to visit the designation and consult Kew’s experts on their climate mitigation strategies.
“We can look at the evolution of plants in a country like Ethiopia over time, sharing what we have done to map the changes affecting coffee production for example and make our data available to support their efforts to make decisions like where coffee will be best produced in the future. That would be an example of how our partnership over time, built with people on the ground and local knowledge matched with Kew knowledge, is able to do something really useful.” Ciara O’Sullivan, Head of Media Relations at RBG Kew.
UNESCO has played a key role in enhancing Kew’s capacity and ability to create new crucial knowledge. The UNESCO status has been especially helpful in attracting financial resources and validation against external threats, Georgina Darroch, World Heritage Site Coordinator, tells us:
“It really helps us get the funding, get that support that we need to maintain and continue our activities. That’s been very valuable and important for us. It has been really important. We are part-funded by DEFRA. Being a signatory to the Convention is a commitment on the Government’s part to protect, preserve and enhance World Heritage Sites. For us, the designation very much sets us apart from the other properties which are in the Government portfolio. And for external funders as well. UNESCO designation does add that stamp of significance.”
What is #NationalValue?