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Great Barrier Reef off endangered World Heritage list for time being

Great Barrier Reef off endangered World Heritage list for time being

dpa
Beijing
Despite threats from climate change and poor water quality, the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia has escaped classification as an endangered World Heritage Site, at least for the time being.
The responsible committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) decided on Friday in Fuzhou, China to postpone the decision on the world’s largest reef until 2023.
The committee followed Australia’s request for a delay, with a majority of the 21 member countries on its side.
Australia is now to submit a new report on the condition and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef before the committee will again discuss a potential Red List entry.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) emphasised that the reef already met “all criteria” for a listing as “endangered.” In the resolution, the World Heritage Committee also refered to a 2019 report by Australia that said the outlook had worsened from “poor” to “very poor.”
Water quality also needs to be improved to create opportunities for reef recovery.
Other threats include land-based run-off, coastal development and some direct human uses, according to the resolution. The unique universal value of the natural site remains intact but has “deteriorated,” it noted.
An expert from the World Heritage Centre (WHC) stressed in the deliberations that the deterioration “has been more rapid and widespread than was evident in the period 2009 to 2014.”

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