UNESCO has recommended that the World Heritage Site Great Barrier Reef shouldn’t be placed on the “in danger” list at this moment. This announcement by the conservation agency has come as a relief for the Federal and Queensland governments as an adverse listing of the site would have been disastrous for the region’s tourism industry.
However, UNESCO, in its draft decision, has also shown concerns about the reef’s poor position; the agency has warned that if no progress is made, the area might soon be placed in the list of “in danger” World Heritage Sites.
Next, the 21 nations on the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO will be deciding whether this recommendation should be accepted or not. Representatives of the member nations will meet in Germany within a few weeks for taking the final decision on the matter.
According to UNESCO’s draft decision, the World Heritage Committee is requesting Australia to provide it with the latest information about the current status of the Long Term Sustainability Plan for the site. The draft decision also states that the agency will have to review whether the plan has progressed as anticipated during its session to be held in 2017.
The draft decision wants the Long Term Sustainability Plan to deliver anticipated results for confirming that the Great Barrier Reef is not at risk of facing potential or ascertained danger. Measures that will be regarded as “significant progress” include efforts for restoring the region’s water quality, and restriction of major port development in and around the World Heritage Site.
Greg Hunt, the federal environment minister has welcomed this draft decision by UNESCO. According to him, this recommendation had perfectly recognized the extraordinary work done by the Queensland and Federal governments for addressing concerns and protecting the reef. Mr. Hunt also informed that the next 20 years will see the funds collected for the reef’s protection reaching an amount of around $2 billion.
Money surely holds the key to these conservation efforts. Recent reports from the Federal Department of Environment suggest that the Government ministers along with bureaucrats have spent over $100,000 for visiting the member nations of World Heritage Committee. In addition, the government has also spent significant amounts for flying foreign journalists and delegations out for visiting the reef.