If decided by the United Nations Organization UNESCO, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef will soon be included in the “at risk” World Heritage List.
According to the organization, the world’s largest coral reef has been a World Heritage Site since 1981, and it is rapidly deteriorating due to climate change. Australia should take more action to combat climate change.
Since the last assessment of the Great Barrier Reef by UNESCO in 2015, the Great Barrier Reef has experienced several bleaching events due to high sea temperatures. As a result, the coral died.
There are 53 World Heritage Sites on the “at risk” list. Mainly because of factors such as pollution, war or urbanization. If UNESCO promotes a change in the status of the Great Barrier Reef, this will be the first time a World Heritage Site has been included in the World Heritage List due to climate change.
Australia said in its initial response that it was caught off guard by the proposed decision, which will be included on the agenda at the UNESCO meeting next month. The country accuses UNESCO of political interference. The BBC writes that China is currently the chairman of UNESCO and Australia suspects that tensions between these countries may have played a role in this move.
For many years, Australia has also hoped to prevent the Great Barrier Reef, a major tourist attraction, from being included on the “at risk” list. According to the BBC, stamps will provide more funds for World Heritage protection, but they may also affect the flow of tourists.
Australian Environment Minister Ley believes that this work has been done sloppily in assessing “the best-maintained coral reef in the world.” Ley: “For all countries that don’t invest in the protection of coral reefs like we do, this is a bad sign.”
She acknowledged that climate change is the biggest threat to coral reefs, but does not think that UNESCO is the “forum” for making statements on this.