Unesco excludes Great Barrier Reef 'in danger' list

2017-07-06 21:00
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Warsaw - Unesco said on Thursday its World Heritage Committee (WHC) had decided not to place Australia's Great Barrier Reef on its list of sites "in danger" despite concern over coral bleaching.

A WHC spokesperson said the committee, which is meeting in Poland, expressed "deep concern" over two straight years of mass coral bleaching, which aerial surveys found had affected some two-thirds of the World Heritage-listed site.

The bleaching is the result of warming sea temperatures linked to climate change.

In reaching its decision, the committee noted Australian attempts to preserve the largest living structure on Earth under its Reef 2050 Plan and did not find it necessary to place the site on its danger list, spokesperson Anika Paliszewska said, despite fears on whether conservation targets can be met.

WHC lauded "major efforts deployed by all those involved" in the Australian preservation plan but "strongly encourages (Australia) to step up efforts to ensure that medium- and long-term objectives fixed by the Plan are met, which is essential for the global resilience" of the reef.

In a draft report to the WHC last month, Unesco said climate change remained the most significant threat to the future of the coral expanse which stretches for some 2 300 km and criticised Australia for slow progress towards achieving water quality targets.

The reef is notably threatened by a proliferation of crown-of-thorns starfish, a coral predator which has a devastating impact on coral reef ecosystems.


Read more on:    unesco  |  australia  |  marine life

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