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Australia Australia set to delay UNESCO ‘in danger' ruling for Great Barrier Reef

07:33  21 july  2021
07:33  21 july  2021 Source:   smh.com.au

Barrier Reef stays off UN 'in danger' list

  Barrier Reef stays off UN 'in danger' list The federal government's campaign to keep the Great Barrier Reef off the UNESCO World Heritage in Danger list has succeeded in delaying the decision.The UNESCO World Heritage Committee met both virtually and in the Chinese city of Fuzhou to vote on the draft decision on Friday night.

Sussan Ley appears to have gained enough support from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to block the Great Barrier Reef being listed as ‘in danger’. © Getty Sussan Ley appears to have gained enough support from UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee to block the Great Barrier Reef being listed as ‘in danger’.

Australia has gained enough international support to avoid UNESCO listing the Great Barrier Reef as an "in danger" World Heritage Site, with 13 countries supporting its move to delay the decision until 2023.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation controls World Heritage listings and the 21 countries currently on its World Heritage Committee voted in June to back a draft ruling that the reef was in danger of losing its World Heritage status due to concerns over water quality and the impacts of climate change.

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  Katters call for better reef investments Katter's Australian Party is proposing new Great Barrier Reef investments after raising questions about a $444 million fund supporting protection of the reef.The not-for-profit Great Barrier Reef Foundation oversees a fund "helping protect the coral reefs and the animals that depend on them", according to its website.

The draft ruling is set to be decided by a vote of the Committee on Friday night, but Australia has proposed an amendment that would delay a decision until 2023, which has the backing of 12 countries - enough for a clear majority.

However, the vote is yet to be held, and it remains to be seen if further amendments are proposed and Australia's proposal is actually endorsed.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley is returning on Wednesday from a lobbying tour of Europe where she visited eight countries in an all-out push to block the in danger listing.

Ms Ley has argued the initial in danger process was politicised, it didn't follow due process including a site visit, failed to take into account recent policies to improve water quality, and unfairly targeted Australia over its climate policy - which is an issue that must be addressed globally and also affects other World Heritage sites.

Great Barrier Reef 'in danger' list delay

  Great Barrier Reef 'in danger' list delay Environment Minister Sussan Ley has welcomed a decision not to list the Great Barrier Reef as in danger, sparing Australia an embarrassment on the world stage.Australia's environment minister has welcomed a decision not to list the Great Barrier Reef as an endangered World Heritage site.

"If it is being proposed on the basis of the very real threat of global climate change, then there are any number of international World Heritage Sites that should be subject to the same process," Ms Ley said.

"I agree that global climate change is the single biggest threat to the world's reefs but it is wrong, in our view, to single out the best-managed reef in the world for an ‘in danger' listing."

An in danger listing would be controversial for the federal government ahead of the federal election, due before June next year, due to fears a downgrade could hurt international tourism when it resumes. The reef is a major money-spinner for Central Queensland electorates - pulling in more than $6 billion in tourism each year and supporting an estimated 60,000 jobs.

Australia's amendment has been endorsed by delegates from Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia, Hungary, Mali, Nigeria, Oman, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, St Kitts and Nevis, and Uganda.

The "very bad" perspectives for the Great Coral Barrier

 The © Copyright 2021, the Obs the prospects of the future remain "very bad" for the great barrier of coral, and that even if this unique ecosystem seems Being somewhat reinstated over the past year, Monday 19 July of the Australian government scientists, when UNESCO has to decide on its status on the World Heritage List.

The proposed amendment would give Australia until December 2022 to submit its case for the health of the reef, to be considered by the Committee at its annual session in 2023, typically held in the middle of the year.

Global warming is an imminent threat to the reef's survival. Australia's pre-eminent coral reef experts, have publicly praised UNESCO's draft in danger rating and endorsed its report which highlighted Australia's relatively weak climate change policies.

There have been three mass coral bleaching events since 2016 and the risks to the reef's survival are significant. A recent Australian Academy of Sciences report said if the world warmed by 2 degrees only 1 per cent of corals would survive.

Most wealthy nations are aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050 or earlier, but Australia has not set a deadline to reach net zero emissions. Australia has committed to reducing its emissions by at least 26 per cent by 2030, based on 2005 levels. The UK aims to cut emissions 78 per cent by 2035, Japan 46 per cent cut by 2030, Canada 45 per cent and the US 50 per cent by 2030.

the lighthouse of Cordouan and the city of Vichy, two new French UNESCO World Heritage sites

 the lighthouse of Cordouan and the city of Vichy, two new French UNESCO World Heritage sites © AFP while waiting for the city of Nice, Cordouan, last manner inhabited in France, and the city of Vichy have Successful passage of passage Saturday by becoming UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Cordouan lighthouse, large cities of European water, including Vichy, and three other cultural sites, located in Saudi Arabia, Germany and Italy, have passed their passage.

Imogen Zethoven, advisor to the Australian Marine Conservation Society on World Heritage, said Australia has "a lot of OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) countries supporting Australia's position".

"Obviously there would have been a lot of trade-offs done here, on a taxpayer-funded trip, to avoid stronger action to protect the Great Barrier Reef," Ms Zethoven said.

World Wildlife Fund Australia's head of oceans, Richard Leck, said Australia's proposed amendment "doesn't change UNESCO's technical and scientific advice recommending urgent action on climate change and water pollution".

"The question is why does the Australian government need two years to report back to the Committee if it accepts urgent action is needed?" Mr Leck said.

Australia has a reputation for vigorous lobbying of the World Heritage Committee. In the late 1990s Australia successfully pushed back against UNESCO when it threatened to inscribe Kakadu National Park on the list of World Heritage in danger when the federal government approved the Jabiluka uranium mine within the park.

Former Environment Minister Greg Hunt conducted a similar lobbying effort to Ms Ley and also knocked off UNESCO's previously proposed in danger rating for the Great Barrier Reef.

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