Australia to contest UN move to declare Great Barrier Reef ‘in danger’

Sydney, Australia, Jun 22 (EFE).- The Australian government announced on Tuesday that it will challenge a recommendation by the United Nations that the Great Barrier Reef be declared World Heritage in Danger.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) indicated Monday night in the draft decision that the Australian government should have “stronger and clearer commitments” to protect the Great Barrier Reef, particularly from climate change, “but also towards accelerating water quality improvement and land management measures.”

The decision will be considered by the World Heritage Committee when it meets in July.

In response, Environment Minister Sussan Ley announced that Canberra will “strongly oppose” the move, expressing it was “concerned about a deviation from normal process in assessing World Heritage Property Conservation status.”

“The Great Barrier Reef is the best managed reef in the world and this draft recommendation has been made without examining the reef first hand, and without the latest information,” Ley said in a statement Tuesday.

In December, the International Union for Conservation of Nature indicated that the Great Barrier Reef had dropped from “significant concern” to “critical,” the worst conservation rating, due to its deterioration caused mainly by the climate crisis.

The report, which is published every three years, specified that the coral bleaching that occurred in 2016, 2017 and 2020 was unprecedented and caused coral losses in two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef.

In addition, in 2019, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority lowered the health rating of the ecosystem from “poor” to “very poor,” and warned that water quality improvement targets had not been met.

The Great Barrier Reef, which stretches 2,300 kilometers off Australia’s northeast coast, is home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of mollusks.

The largest coral reef in the world began to deteriorate in the 1990s due to the double impact of warming seas and the increase in its acidity due to the greater presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. EFE


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