CULTURE UN recommends Great Barrier Reef be listed as 'in danger'

CULTURE

UN recommends Great Barrier Reef be listed as 'in danger'

Xinhua

09:45, November 29, 2022

CANBERRA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- A landmark United Nations (UN) report has recommended Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef be added to the World Heritage "in danger" list.

Aerial photo taken on June 2, 2021 shows the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia. (File photo: Xinhua)

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released its long-awaited report Tuesday on the reef following a 10-day visit in March, calling for ambitious, rapid and sustained action to protect it.

It made 22 recommendations, 10 of which it said must be addressed with utmost urgency, including a call for the government to update its climate change targets to be consistent with stopping warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The governing Labor Party, which won power in May, has committed to reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 43 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

However, in order to stop global warming at 1.5 degrees experts have said Australia must reduce emissions by 74 percent.

The UNESCO report found the acidity of the great barrier reef water has increased 26 percent while water quality targets have not been met.

It recommends urgent action to stop sediment runoff, a ban on destructive gill net fishing and a reduction in runoff from banana and sugarcane farming.

The report's recommendation that the reef officially listed as "in danger" will be considered with submissions from the federal and Queensland governments before UNESCO makes a final decision on its status.

Responding to the report, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek and Nita Green, the special envoy for the reef, said the government has taken significant steps to protect the reef in the six months since winning power.

"We understand that the people who live and work on the Reef might find the report alarming," they said in a joint statement.

"With the election of the new Labor government, Australia has stepped up to play our part, working in partnership with the Queensland government."

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