UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Published in the National Value Report 2020 - June 25, 2020
UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Published in the National Value Report 2020 - June 25, 2020
National Value Report: UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
National Value Report: UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
National Value Report: UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
National Value Report: UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Published    –    June 25, 2020

UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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Case Study

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UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Published    –    June 25, 2020

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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.”

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council recently awarded Kew with a £1.2 million grant through the Global Challenges Research Fund to study the agrisystems of the southern Ethiopian highlands to help enhance food security. Being a UNESCO designation also signals a sense of significance and value to stakeholders and visitors.

“Just being able to say that we are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in itself helps people to understand the status of Kew and put the site into a global context which is really important. Just that recognition is helpful in opening doors, in placing in people’s minds the kind of value and importance of what Kew is.” Ciara O’Sullivan, Head of Media Relations at RBG Kew.

This recognition has helped Kew to develop and strengthen partnerships worldwide. Today, Kew employs 350 scientists who work closely with a wide range of research institutions and organisations in over 110 countries to tackle environmental, social and economic challenges through the power of plants and fungi.

“Just being able to say that we are a UNESCO World Heritage Site in itself helps people to understand the status of Kew and put the site into a global context which is really important. Just that recognition is helpful in opening doors, in placing in people’s minds the kind of value and importance of what Kew is.”

Ciara O’Sullivan, Head of Media Relations at RBG Kew

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Published    –    June 25, 2020

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UNESCO World Heritage Site Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

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Published    –    June 25, 2020

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Published: June 25, 2020

Published by:  The United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO

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