Unesco excludes Australian Great Barrier Reef from Heritage in Danger list

Beijing, Jul 23 (EFE).- Unesco’s World Heritage Committee decided Friday to exclude the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system, from the list of World Heritage in Danger during a meeting in Fuzhou, China.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is independent from the United Nations body, assessed in December that the Great Barrier, in northeast Australia, has a “critical conservation outlook,” and requires “urgent, additional and large-scale conservation measures.”

The report warned that the coral bleachings of 2016, 2017 and 2020 are unprecedented in severity, frequency and impact, having caused coral losses across two thirds of the Great Barrier.

The World Heritage Committee recognized Australian efforts to protect the coral reef, and decided to not enter it into the Unesco list of sites in peril due to armed conflict, natural disasters and environmental devastation.

Australian representatives convinced enough delegates to shun the proposal to add the Great Barrier to the list.

The committee agreed to reconsider its inclusion in 2022.

The 2,300 kilometers long coral ecosystem was inscribed as World Heritage in 1981, home to 400 coral 1,500 fish and 4,000 mollusc species.

Its deterioration started in the 1990s due to the warming of the Coral Sea and higher pH levels because of increasing CO2 presence in the atmosphere.

Both the administration of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Queensland state authorities have lobbied against the inclusion of the Great Barrier into the World Heritage in Danger list. EFE


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