I have come across an article describing the steps involved in moving the Singapore Botanical Gardens (SBG) nomination from initial idea through to inscription. Written by an insider to the process, it goes through the obvious tasks involved in working up the Nomination and Management Plan but the most illuminating section for me was one about the "diplomatic activities" which took place behind the scenes in order to enhance the nomination's chances of success. It starts "an equally important international awareness‐raising agenda was carried out, led by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Culture, Community & Youth (MCCY, including NHB). This involved activities in Singapore as well as abroad, and especially in Paris, where the World's state parties to UNESCO base their ambassadors and cultural experts
The Nomination was submitted in Jan 2014 for consideration at the 2015 WHC. But the diplomatic activities had started even earlier and continued right through the period!!! I
I quote the main paragraph in full (My "Bold
"!)"Singapore's ambassador to UNESCO, H.E. Andrew Toh and his team were key and devoted players throughout this part of the process. From late 2013 until April 2015 a seemingly un‐ending stream of ambassadors and heritage experts from all of the 21‐member‐states of the UNESCO WH Committee were invited to Singapore for briefings and tours of SBG. However, all those on the Singaporean side were careful to avoid any activity that could be construed as "lobbying" for the bid, which is strictly frowned upon by UNESCO. Another part of this international agenda was attendance at the annual meeting of the WH Committee. This was held in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) in June 2013 and in Doha (Qatar) in June 2014. Teams from NHB and N Parks attended both meetings and staged exhibitions to raise awareness of Singapore's bid amongst the thousands of delegates from the 190+ sovereign states that are parties to the Convention. A special highlight occurred at the Doha meeting in 2014, when, to the Singapore delegation's delight, we were allowed to name a new orchid hybrid after UNESCO in the plenary session of the meeting in front of some 1700 delegates. "Dendrobium UNESCO" caused a huge stir and whilst our Minister for Culture, Lawrence Wong, carefully avoided mention of SBG and its WH bid in his speech prior to presenting the orchid, in publicly thanking Singapore the Director General of UNESCO and Chairman of the WH Committee both noted that the orchid had come from SBG and commented favourably on their previous visits to the Gardens! Such advocacy was extremely welcome and caused considerable envy amongst other nations present at the meeting."
So, now we understand some of the background as to why it can be, for instance, that, for no obvious reason, "State Party A" suddenly develops a remarkable interest in, knowledge of and support for the nomination of "State Party B"!!!!!
And notice all the "nudge, nudge, wink, wink... say no more......" hints about not "lobbying" and not "mentioning the nomination". But everyone at the WHC knows what is going on. I am sure that the SBG didn't need all that lobbying and maybe Singapore was particularly efficient at doing it - but it is certainly not going to be the only country doing so!! And then within this ecosystem of behind the scenes lobbying there might be things we haven't been told about here - invitations to the Grand Prix, gifts of Rolex watches ..... and, who knows, possibly even monies into Swiss bank accounts. Want to host the World Cup? You know what it takes..... Want to get your UNESCO nomination inscribed despite what the AB says? This is the way to do it.........
The full article is here - together with a resumee of the Comparison of the Singapore Nomination with Bogor Gardens in Indonesia just added to that country's T List. You had better start lobbying now Indonesia!!https://www.iseas.edu.sg/images/centres/nalanda_sriwijaya_centre/compilations/heritag e_workshop/2_nigel_taylor_challenges_of_world_heritage_inscription.pdf