Centaman has been a market leader in Enterprise Software Solutions for the leisure and recreation industry and both profit and not-for-profit attractions since 1991. It offers a wide range of software…read more
UNESCO recommends Great Barrier Reef be listed as ‘in danger’
The Australian Government has been sent a powerful message from UNESCO: the Great Barrier Reef should be placed on the List of World Heritage In Danger because of the threat of climate change along with poor water quality.
Last night, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released its draft State of Conservation report about the Great Barrier Reef which contains a draft decision to be ratified by the World Heritage Committee in July.
The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) said the UNESCO’s draft report is a clear and powerful analysis of the state of the Reef and what must be done to preserve it.
Global heating caused by fossil fuel burning has driven ocean temperatures higher, leading to three mass bleaching events on the 2,300km reef since the last time it was assessed by the committee in 2015.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley is ‘stunned’ by the recommendation and will strongly oppose the recommendion advising she has joined the Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne, in a call to UNESCO’s director general, Audrey Azoulay.
If the UNESCO committee follows the recommendation, experts said it would be the first time a natural world heritage site has been placed on the ‘in danger’ list mainly because of impacts from the climate crisis.
Environmental consultant to AMCS Imogen Zethoven notes “The UNESCO report makes it very clear: limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C is a critical threshold for the Reef.
“Australia’s climate record is more consistent with a 2.5-3.0 C rise in global average temperature – a level that would destroy the Great Barrier Reef and all the world’s coral reefs.
“The Australian Government’s inaction on climate change has led the Reef to the brink of an ‘In Danger’ listing.”
The UNESCO report calls for a Reactive Monitoring Mission to Australia to develop a set of ‘corrective measures’ centred around ensuring that the Reef 2050 Plan addresses the threat of climate change.
Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets have not changed since 2015 with Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, having resisted international pressure to adopt a firm net zero target by 2050.
IUCN, the advisory body to the World Heritage Committee, last year downgraded the Great Barrier Reef’s outlook to ‘critical’. In 2019, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority downgraded the Reef’s outlook to ‘very poor’.
UNESCO’s draft decision calls on Australia to take accelerated action in other areas especially to do with poor water quality and the slow uptake of improved catchment management to tackle pollution of the Reef’s waters.
The draft decision also calls on the Australian Government to report back to UNESCO on 1st February 2022 to demonstrate how it is implementing all the requests. The state of the Reef will then again be reviewed at the World Heritage Committee meeting next year.
The World Heritage Committee meets 16th-31st July to consider UNESCO’s draft report and to approve a final decision about the Reef.
The UNESCO report said despite efforts and achievements by the state and federal governments, key targets on improving water quality had not been met: “The plan requires stronger and clearer commitments, in particular towards urgently countering the effects of climate change, but also towards accelerating water quality improvement and land management measures.”
21st June 2021 - Great Barrier Reef Education Experience Program opens
28th April 2021 - Queensland Government rejects mine to protect Reef
22nd February 2021 - 17 marine tourism operators funded to monitor health of Great Barrier Reef
17th February 2021 - Great Barrier Reef’s D Grade highlights urgent action is required
30th September 2020 - Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority responds to illegal fishing on the Reef
16th June 2020 - Great Barrier Reef campaigners deliver message of Reef-safe recovery
28th February 2020 - Australian Marine Conservation Society calls for a Reef-safe climate policy
19th September 2019 - Research suggests coral reef protection could benefit all ecosystems
26th June 2019 - Research shows Great Barrier Reef visitors understand climate threat
14th October 2015 - Tourism industry alarm at global coral reef bleaching
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