UNESCO World Heritage Committee has decided not to list the Great Barrier Reef as “in danger” at its session held on July 1st, praising instead Australia on its conservation plan.
However, the Committee said that the reef is still at risk, giving the country five years to halt deterioration of the world’s largest coral reef.
Commenting on the decision, the deputy premier of Queensland government Jackie Trad said the World Heritage Committee’s decision is a sensible one and acknowledgement of the Labor Government’s firm and swift action since coming to office.
“The world has acknowledged the significant achievements and continuing work of the new Queensland Government to protect the reef for future generations.
“The Reef 2050 long term sustainability plan is essential to keeping this natural wonder off the endangered list and the implementation of this plan will be critical,” she added, stressing that climate change remains the biggest threat to the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Australian government has been given 18 months – an effective probation period – to take meaningful action before the reef’s World Heritage status will be under scrutiny again, environmental group Greenpeace said.
Greenpeace believes that until the threat of massive coal mine and port expansions are removed, “claims by the Australian government that they’re protecting the Reef are a sham.”
Namely, the Australian Government has approved the construction of the Carmichael mega-mine, which is to be the largest mine Australia has ever seen, boasting coal production capacity of 130 million tonnes every year.
The mine would hence mean more coal being transported straight through the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which, according to Greenpeace, has a potentially disastrous impact on the reef’s coral and animals from things like collisions, accidents, spills and coal dust.
World Maritime News Staff