No Need to Include Great Barrier Reef in World Heritage Danger List yet: UN Draft Report

No Need to Include Great Barrier Reef in World Heritage Danger List yet: UN Draft Report

A United Nations draft report has called for not including the Great Barrier Reef in a World Heritage danger list. However, it supported commitments required for Australia to ensure protection of the reef, including restoring water quality and restricting new port developments.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Germany next month is expected to bring the final decision on its status. The outlook of conservationists for the reef is mostly on the negative side. A 2014 report has also showed that further deterioration is setting to take place in future because of the current condition.

The draft decision from the United Nations' conservation agency was a response to the poor outlook for the reef. It also calls for progress report to be generated on Australia’s commitment by December 1, 2016.

Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Palaszczuk Labor government had vowed to do everything to save the reef when elected. “This was a key election promise and that is why we committed $100 million over five years towards water quality initiatives to help achieve these targets”, she said.

UNESCO's decision has been welcomed by mining and tourism groups. UNESCO has clearly indicated that the Abbott government has to provide full protection to Great Barrier Reef and that means a reprieve from coal expansion, said Greenpeace Australia Reef campaigner Shani Tager.

Greenpeace said the federal government needs to understand that backing coal industry could be very harmful for the environment. The government should remove port expansion loopholes from the Reef 2050 plan.

WWF-Australia chief executive Dermot O'Gorman said it’s high time for the Australian and Queensland governments to fulfill their promises to better protect the Reef.

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