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World Heritage Convention

Decision 36 COM 7B.8
Great Barrier Reef (Australia) (N 154)

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-12/36.COM/7B.Add,

2.  Recalling Decision 35 COM 7B.10, adopted at its 35th session (UNESCO, 2011),

3.  Welcomes the initial positive results of the Reef Plan and associated measures to address major long-term impacts on the property from poor water quality, and requests the State Party, in collaboration with its partners, to maintain, and increase where necessary financial investment and sustain the positive trend beyond 2013;

4.  Takes note of the findings of the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission to the property undertaken in March 2012, and also requests the State Party to address the mission recommendations in its future protection and management of the property;

5.  Notes with great concern the potentially significant impact on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value resulting from the unprecedented scale of coastal development currently being proposed within and affecting the property, and further requests the State Party to not permit any new port development or associated infrastructure outside of the existing and long-established major port areas within or adjoining the property, and to ensure that development is not permitted if it would impact individually or cumulatively on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6.  Requests furthermore the State Party to complete the Strategic Assessment and resulting long-term plan for the sustainable development of the property for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 39th session in 2015, and to ensure that the assessment and long-term plan are completed against a number of defined criteria for success, fully address direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the reef and lead to concrete measures to ensure the overall conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value of the property; 

7.  Urges the State Party to establish the Outstanding Universal Value of the property as a clearly defined and central element within the protection and management system for the property, and to include an explicit assessment of Outstanding Universal Value within future Great Barrier Reef Outlook Reports;

8.  Recommends the State Party, in collaboration with its partners, to sustain and increase its efforts and available resources to conserve the property, and to develop and adopt clearly defined and scientifically justified targets for improving its state of conservation and enhancing its resilience, and ensure that plans, policies and development proposals affecting the property demonstrate a positive contribution to the achievement of those targets, and an overall net benefit to the protection of Outstanding Universal Value;

9.  Requests moreover the State Party to undertake an independent review of the management arrangements for Gladstone Harbour, that will result in the optimization of port development and operation in Gladstone Harbour and on Curtis Island, consistent with the highest internationally recognized standards for best practice commensurate with iconic World Heritage status;

10. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including on the implementation of actions outlined above and in the mission report, for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013, with a view to consider, in the absence of substantial progress, the possible inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger;

11. Decides to also consider a further report from the State Party on the state of conservation of the property, the findings of the second Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report, and the anticipated outcomes of the completed Strategic Environmental Assessment and related long term plan for sustainable development at is 39th session in 2015.

Decision Code
36 COM 7B.8
Conservation, List of World Heritage in Danger, Outstanding Universal Value, Partnerships, Reports
States Parties 1
Properties 1
State of conservation reports
2012 Great Barrier Reef
Decisions adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012)
Context of Decision
Other Documents (1)
Report on the Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Great Barrier Reef (Australia), 6-14 March 2012