Decision on Status of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef Postponed Until 2015

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Doha (Qatar) deferred for 12 months a decision on whether to inscribe Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee’s concerns over the site relate to planned coastal developments, including development of ports and liquefied natural gas facilities. It has asked Australia to submit an updated report on the state of conservation of the site in by 1 February 2015.

World Heritage Centre Director Kishore Rao said that the decision adopted by the Committee welcomed the progress made by Australia in managing the reef.  “UNESCO is confident the overall direction towards next year’s decision is a positive one,” he said.

The Great Barrier Reef covers an area of 348,000 square kilometres, stretching down the north-eastern coastline of Australia. Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981, it contains 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.

The 38th session of the World Heritage Committee began on 15 June and will continue through to 25 June, under the Chair of Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.

Press Release, June 19, 2014; Image: Wikimedia

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