After years of climate damage to vibrant corals, Australia’s vast Great Barrier Reef could be added to UNESCO’s list of endangered world heritage sites this week.
Ecosystem damage, overexploitation, overexploitation, or Security concernsThe fate of coral reefs is being considered at a conference in China, and listing decisions may be announced on Friday.
What is a World Heritage List?
Recognized for its “universal value of excellence” and its natural or cultural importance, there are more than 1,100 UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide.
The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest biological structure visible from space, was added to the list in 1981 because of its “best natural beauty” and widespread biodiversity.
However, the list has not been permanently revised and the site can be downgraded or permanently removed at the recommendation of a UN agency.
Listing on the “at risk” list is not considered sanctions, but some countries add sites to help with relief, while others do. Is considered a disgrace.
Why do coral reefs lose their position?
Coral reefs have been hit by a large number of coral bleaching events three times over the past five years, and since 1995, seawater temperatures have risen, resulting in the loss of half of the coral.
Climate change has also caused more extreme weather and has been hit by several cyclones due to the outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish that eat coral.
“The endangerment of coral ecosystems is a warning to the international community and all humankind,” said Fanny Dever, head of the UNESCO World Heritage Marine Program, in June. ..
Australian government scientists say coral has revived in the past year, but admits that it does not improve the “very poor” long-term outlook for ecosystems.
What does Australia say?
There is concern that the “at risk” list could undermine the large-scale global appeal of Reef, the glittering gem of Australia’s tourism crown.
The 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) ecosystem was worth an estimated US $ 4.8 billion annually in tourism revenue for the Australian economy before the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia has launched last-minute lobbying to avoid downgrades, sent the State’s Minister of the Environment to Paris to meet with members of the World Heritage Committee and take key ambassadors on coral reef snorkeling trips. rice field.
The Commission currently consists of 21 member states, including China, Russia and Australia itself, and will vote on the recommendations of the United Nations Cultural Organization.
What are the likely consequences?
This is not the first time the United Nations has threatened to downgrade its list of world heritage sites on coral reefs. A ferocious lobbying by Australia stopped it in 2015.
The country created the “Leaf 2050” plan and poured billions of dollars Leaf Protection, including water quality improvement, to address concerns.
UNESCO acknowledges these efforts, but is targeting Australia, which is under-employed for climate change, as the government continues to resist the call to promise zero net emissions by 2050.
The decision is currently in the hands of the World Heritage Committee, but 12 other countries are proposing to postpone the decision until 2023 after lobbying by Australian authorities has been reported.
Assuming Australia also casts a vote in favor, we need to find another member to support the position, as 14 votes are required to pass the submission.
© 2021 AFP
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The Great Barrier Reef is on the verge of being a World Heritage Site
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