The World Heritage Committee decided to postpone such a decision, which was opposed after intense campaigning from Australia. It is currently meeting online under the chairmanship of Tian Sujun, Fujo (China), Chinese Deputy Minister of Education and Chairman of the Chinese National Commission for UNESCO.
“I extend my heartfelt thanks to the distinguished delegates who recognized Australia’s commitment to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.Australian Environment Minister Susan Lay told the committee in a statement.
Members of the group, including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, felt that Australia should take more time to work to protect the Great Barrier, which was traditionally engraved as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
Following Canberra’s criticism, they denounced the organization’s reliance on existing reports to make its recommendations, and asked UNESCO to send an evaluation mission.
The United Nations released the recommendations of its expert and advisory committees in June, recommending that they be placed on the list of ecological sites. “In danger“As a result of its deterioration, the recurrence of coral bleaching events for many is the result of climate change.
Tim Batman, director of the World Heritage Program at IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), said the big hurdle had been filled.Vaguely“Criteria for being on the list of dangerous sites.”Despite great efforts by the state party, both the invaluable global value of the Great Barrier Reef and its prospects for redemption have deteriorated considerably.“, he said.
David Ritter, director of the Australia Pacific branch of the environmental organization Greenpeace, said UNESCO’s decision was a “Victory for the most cynical campaigners in recent history“.”This is not a victory, it is a disgrace to the Australian government“, He estimated.
Such registration is not considered a UNESCO permit. Some countries see it as a way to raise awareness in the international community and help preserve their heritage. But Australia saw the event as a slap in the face for fear it would undermine the tourist attraction of the 2,300-km-long and $ 4.8 billion revenue-generating coral reef.
Ms Lay had previously traveled to Paris in July to campaign with the countries on the committee. Canberra took ambassadors to the Great Barrier Reef Dive, and 12 of the committee’s 21 member states volunteered to postpone the decision until 2023.
In 2015, Australia already received a relief after a similar campaign and promised to invest billions of dollars to protect the reefs.
But since then, coral bleaching has been badly affected overall by three serious episodes.
Bleaching is a wasted phenomenon that causes discoloration. This is caused by an increase in water temperature (the effect of global warming) which leads to the release of symbiotic algae that give the coral its bright color.
Australian government scientists have acknowledged that the future outlook for coral reefs is grim, with many rocks showing signs of recovery in recent years.
“Crown of thorns”
It is estimated that two thirds of the Great Barrier is affected in one way or another. In addition to warming or hurricanes, it is threatened by industrial or agricultural activities or by purple acanthos, an aggressive starfish.
Agonster Blancy, nicknamed the “Crown of Thorns” or “Pearl Cushion”, feeds exclusively on corals, reaching a meter in diameter and containing quills that are poisonous to humans.
In its recommendations, UNESCO blamed Australia for failing to meet its water quality targets and blamed Australia for the bad weather. The Australian Conservative government is facing growing criticism for failing to set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the country would achieve that.soon“Australia is one of the world’s leading exporters of coal and natural gas.