UNESCO has ‘serious concern’ over the Australian Great Barrier Reef

Two years after a warning by UNESCO, the Great Barrier Reef is still under threat

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In 2015, the Australian government released the Australia's Reef 2050 Plan in an effort to prevent its cultural site being placed under the United Nation's Danger List. VOA
  • UNESCO is the cultural body of the United Nations
  • It has urged Australia to save the Great Barrier Reef under ‘serious concern’
  • Australia’s Reef 2050 Plan made in an effort to prevent its heritage site being placed under the United Nation’s Danger List

June 04, 2017: The Australian Great Barrier Reef is one of the many World Heritage Sites under the UNESCO list. On Saturday, UNESCO expressed its concern as the Heritage Site still faces major threats.

UNESCO has urged the Australian government to take stronger measures and accelerate efforts towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is a significant tourist attraction for Australia.

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In a draft report to World Heritage Committee, UNESCO said that climate change is a major threat to this coral expanse. The committee also expressed its concern on the bleaching and mortality of coral reefs.

In 2015, the Australian government released the Australia’s Reef 2050 Plan in an effort to prevent its heritage site being placed under the United Nation’s Danger List. Negative rating of the Great Barrier will hurt the Australian image and tourism industry.

The plan had a $1.38 billion investment strategy. Initially, it was praised by UNESCO. Gradually it realized that stronger legislation was needed. The law required for clearing lands has not been passed.

The Great Barrier is threatened by a number of factors. The water quality has been poor due to agricultural runoffs. Coastal development combined with illegal fishing is also a major threat.

The Reef 2050 plan has not been successful. Since the inception of the plan, the Great Barrier has “an unprecedented loss of coral”. Large parts of the reef were destroyed by back to back coral bleaching events.

UNESCO believes that the action of the Australian government has been ineffective and that the water quality targets set have not been met. The overall progress has been slow.

Climate change remains an issue where answers are still sought. It is a prime threat to the corals and an issue that is out of Australia’s individual efforts.

 – by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394