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Decision 44 COM 7B.90
Great Barrier Reef (Australia) (N 154)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Recalling Decisions 39 COM 7B.7 and 41 COM 7B.24, adopted at its 39th (Bonn, 2015) and 41st (Krakow, 2017) sessions, respectively,
  3. Commends the State Party for the strong and continued efforts to create conditions for the implementation of the Reef 2050 Long-term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan), including through unprecedented financial commitments;
  4. Notes with the utmost concern and regret the conclusions of the 2019 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report (2019 GBR Outlook Report) that the long-term outlook for the ecosystem of the property has further deteriorated from poor to very poor, that the deterioration of the ecological processes underpinning the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property has been more rapid and widespread than was previously evident, and that the property has suffered significantly from mass coral bleaching events in 2016, 2017 and 2020;
  5. Also notes with the utmost concern that despite many positive achievements, progress has been largely insufficient in meeting key targets of the Reef 2050 Plan, in particular the water quality and land management targets, as evidenced by the conclusions of the 2017-2018 and 2019 Reef Quality Report Cards;
  6. Noting the conclusion of the 2019 GBR Outlook Report that climate change remains the most serious threat to the property, and recognizing that action by the international community and all States Parties to the Convention is urgently required to address threats from climate change, considers that actions to build resilience of the property and address other factors remain of utmost importance;
  7. Urges the State Party to ensure that the revised Reef 2050 Plan, expected to be finalized in 2021, fully incorporates the conclusions of the 2019 GBR Outlook Report that accelerated action at all possible levels is required to address the threat from climate change, in accordance with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (2015), and to urgently create opportunities for recovery of the property, in particular with regard to water quality;
  8. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission centred around ensuring that the revised Reef 2050 Plan addresses the threat posed to the property by climate change and determines a pathway for accelerated actions in other areas affecting the conservation of the property;
  9. Also recalling Decision 41 COM 7 in which the Committee ‘reiterate[d] the importance of States Parties undertaking the most ambitious implementation of the Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and by pursuing efforts to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”’, strongly invites all States Parties to undertake actions to address Climate Change under the Paris Agreement consistent with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, that are fully consistent with their obligations within the World Heritage Convention to protect the OUV of all World Heritage properties;
  10. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2022, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session.
Decision Code
44 COM 7B.90
Themes
Conservation
States Parties 1
Properties 1
Year
2021
State of conservation reports
2021 Great Barrier Reef
Documents
WHC/21/44.COM/18
Decisions adopted at the 44th extended session of the World Heritage Committee
Context of Decision
WHC-21/44.COM/7B.Add
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