Last year, UNESCO gave Australia a deadline to prove it would improve the state of the Great Barrier Reef, which included announcing an end to coal expansion along the Queensland coastline. A failure to make “substantial progress” would result in a stripping of its World Heritage status, making it the first developed country to do so. That deadline expires today.
According to WWF’s Campaign Director, Richard Leck, each government was judged on a set of criteria based on the World Heritage Committee’s list of recommendations.
“These dismal scores highlight our grave concerns that UNESCO is going to have no option but to recommend the Reef be put on its unenviable ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’ – the list of shame,” Mr Leck said.
“There’s a very real risk the Great Barrier Reef could lose its World Heritage status.
“The impact of that would be felt right throughout Queensland’s economy, especially its $6 billion reef tourism industry. Australia’s reputation is on the line.”
The results show that the Queensland Government’s recent push to develop its port and as a result, weaken its coastal protection laws, is jeopardising the future of the Reef.
WWF and Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) are calling on the Australian government to report back to UNESCO on their plans for conserving the site, and is also asking the government to invest $500 million to reduce reef pollution.
In failing to do protect the Reef’s heritage listing, Queensland faces consequences to its economy, especially its $6 billion reef tourism industry. The reputation of Australia on a global environmental platform will also undoubtedly be compromised.