The Great Barrier Reef Should Be Declared ‘In Danger’, UN Scientists Say

The Great Barrier Reef Should Be Declared ‘In Danger’, UN Scientists Say

Scientists have declared that the Great Barrier Reef should be added to the list of world heritage sites that are “in danger”. The recommendation comes via the UNESCO World Heritage Convention’s latest report into the world’s largest coral reef.

Within this 104-page report, it was said the Great Barrier Reef is facing “significant” threats due to the climate crisis and that it remains of “upmost urgency” to establish more concrete actions to save it.

“The mission team concludes that the property is faced with major threats that could have deleterious effects on its inherent characteristics, and therefore meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger,” the report declares.

It also doesn’t go easy on Australia for its protection (or lack thereof) of the Great Barrier Reef. It urges us, in the report described as the ‘State Party’, to implement all of its recommendations to start fixing the problems we’ve for so long let slide.

While the climate crisis is a big impacting factor on the state the Great Barrier Reef now finds itself in, the report also notes that “coastal development, degrading water quality resulting from sediment and pollutant run-off from agricultural activities, and unsustainable resource use, among others” are also at play.

In order to be placed on the List of World Heritage in Danger, the Great Barrier Reef needs to meet certain criteria. It also needs to be “amenable to correction by human action”.

“The ongoing threats facing the GBR, while extraordinarily challenging, are indeed amenable to correction by human action,” UNESCO says, offering some comfort to the otherwise bleak report.

“It is fully recognised that the issue of climate change impacts, while amenable to correction by human action, is not an issue that can corrected by the action of [Australia] alone, as it is a global issue and requires all nations to accelerate their climate change mitigation and achieve the Paris Agreement targets as soon as possible,” it adds.

UNESCO scientists gathered its data on a 10-day monitoring mission back in March. It came after an initial recommendation was made mid last year that the Great Barrier Reef be classed as in danger. At the time, calls for the government to “urgently” address the worsening threats of the climate crisis were received by immediate pushback. New ministry, new outlook? Let’s hope it’s not too late for the Reef.

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