- Recently, a joint report by the IUCN and UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre has recommended that the Great Barrier Reef should be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger which has been opposed by Australia.
- The reef is currently not in the endangered list.
What is the Great Barrier Reef?
- It is located off the coast of Queensland in Australia.
- It is the world’s largest coral reef system with over 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands and an area covering approximately 344,400 square kilometres.
- It is one of the biggest biodiversity hotspots in the world as well as one of its largest carbon sinks.
- It is managed as a multiple use area where a range of commercial and tourism activities are permitted.
What does the IUCN-WHC report say?
- It is adversely and significantly impacted by climate change factors affecting its resilience to sustain and regenerate itself.
- Frequent bleaching events have made many reefs sterile.
- Degraded water quality poses a particular threat to marine life and corals.
- Pollutants from agricultural and construction activities have been damaging and other proposed developments around the Queensland coast are matters of concern.
What does putting GBR on the List of World Heritage in Danger entail?
- The List of World Heritage in Danger is designed to inform the international community of conditions which threaten the characteristics for which a property was inscribed on the World Heritage List and to encourage corrective action.
- Under the 1972 World Heritage Convention: inscribing a site on the List allows the WHC to allocate immediate assistance from the World Heritage Fund to the endangered property.
- It will invite greater scrutiny for the site.