A United Nations committee’s project to demote the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status has exasperated Australia, which said the suggestion was politically exciting. The UN World Heritage Committee on Monday stated in an outline report that “there is no possible doubt” that the network of colourful corals off Australia’s northeast coast was “facing confirmed danger”.
Scientists say that the coral reef biosphere has suffered three major decolorizing events since 2015 due to severe sea heatwaves. The report suggests that the world’s biggest coral reef environment should be added to Unesco’s list of World Heritage in Danger when the panel considers that question in July.
As many as 53 sites are now on the List of World Heritage in Danger. The latest suggestions by the UN committee comes as a problem as Australia campaigned bitterly for years to stay off the jeopardize list. The Great Barrier Reef losing its World Heritage Site status list could probably cut down its attraction to tourists.
Australia, one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita, has remained unwilling to commit to stronger climate measures and its conservative government has specified jobs as a major cause to support the country’s fossil fuel industries. It has not refurbished its climate goals since 2015. But the ultimatum of losing the World Heritage Site could also affect thousands of jobs dependent on about 5 million individuals who visit the Great Barrier Reef each year.
Australian environment minister Sussan Ley said to reporters that the management has expressed “strong disappointment” and “perplexity” at the motion to Unesco director-general Audrey Azoulay, adding that the nation will oppose the listing.
“This choice was unreliable. Clearly, there were politics beyond…clearly, those politics have superseded a proper method and for the World Heritage Committee to not even predict this listing is, I think, astounding,” Ley said, definitely hinting at China which directs the Unesco committee.
While Ley didn’t tag Beijing, a government official said to news agency Reuters that China has been liable for the committee’s attire. “We will plead, but China is in control,” Reuters quoted the pseudonymous government official as saying.
Australia’s connection with China has disintegrated in recent years, especially after PM Scott Morrison sought an independent request into the origins of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and was lucky in getting a related resolution passed at the World Health Assembly in 2020.
Anyhow, environmental groups expressed that the suggestions were made because Australia was not doing enough to shield the reef. “There is no route for any government to have any input. This advice is reached by world-renowned scientists,” Richard Leck, Head of Oceans for the World Wide Fund for Nature, Australia, told Reuters.
The suggestion will now be calculated by all 21 countries on the burough of which Australia is also a member. According to the tradition, however, Australia will be incapable of voting if the panel is unable to reach harmony.