World Heritage Site status
The World Heritage Convention, adopted by UNESCO (the United Nations
Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) in 1972, provides
for the identification, protection and conservation of natural and
cultural sites of outstanding universal value. In July 2003, 730
such sites across the world were included on The World Heritage
List, ranging from the Taj Mahal to the Tower of London, the Great
Wall of China to the Grand Canyon.
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was initially submitted for nomination
by DCMS (the UK Government’s Department for Culture, Media
and Sport) and Defra (the Department for Environment, Food and Rural
Affairs). Following extensive assessment by UNESCO’s advisers,
IUCN (the International Union for Conservation, Nature and Natural
Resources) and ICOMOS (the International Council on Monuments and
Sites), Kew was inscribed on the World Heritage List by the World
Heritage Committee on 3 July 2003.
World Heritage status gives recognition to Kew’s excellence
as a world class cultural and heritage site and recognises the importance
of Kew’s historic landscapes and outstanding buildings in
addition to its important role in science and plant research.
With the addition of the new sites inscribed in July 2004 the World
Heritage List now numbers 788 properties.