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Canberra, Aug 1 The Australian government on Tuesday welcomed the draft decision from the Unesco not to list the Great Barrier Reef “in danger”.
Environment and Water Minister Tanya Plibersek said the draft decision cited “significant progress” being made on climate change, water quality, and sustainable fishing — all putting the reef on a stronger and more sustainable path, reports Xinhua news agency.
However, Unesco said in the report that the world’s largest coral reef remains under “serious threat” and urgent and sustained action to implement the priority recommendations of the mission is essential in order to improve the long-term resilience of the property, with the reef’s status to be reassessed in 2024.
“Our government will always support Australia’s precious places, and the plants and animals that call them home,” Plibersek said.
The report’s findings and recommendations will be considered by a meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Saudi Arabia in September.
It praised Australia’s commitment to reduce the number of nutrients and fertilizers running off into the reef but called for a “drastic shift” to reach water quality targets.
“Based on the progress achieved since the mission and commitments, the World Heritage Center and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) consider that it would be appropriate to re-evaluate whether the property meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger at the 46th session of the World Heritage Committee,” said the report.
Nita Green, the special envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, said although this was a draft decision, it recognised the work of the partners, agencies, and stakeholders who had worked together over the past year supported by the government committed to protecting the reef.