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Great Barrier Reef state of conservation

Great Barrier Reef, Australia © Tourism Queensland | Tourism Queensland
Friday, 31 January 2014
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The World Heritage Committee, at its last meeting in June 2013, expressed concern for the Great Barrier Reef and requested Australia ensure that the property remains well protected.

We received a report on the state of conservation from the Australian government this week. We are currently reviewing this report and all other available information regarding developments concerning the World Heritage site. The assessment of the situation will be made public in May, ahead of the World Heritage Committee meeting in June this year, when the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef will be discussed by the 21-member intergovernmental Committee

Friday, 31 January 2014
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States Parties 1
Regions 1
Asia and the Pacific
Statutory Meetings 1
World Heritage Properties 1
Decisions (1)
Code: 37COM 7B.10

The World Heritage Committee,

1.  Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7B.8, adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),

3. Welcomes the progress made by the State Party with the Strategic Assessment and reiterates its request to the State Party to ensure that the assessment and the resulting long-term plan for the sustainable development of the property are completed against defined criteria for success, fully address direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the reef and lead to concrete measures to ensure the conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;

4. Also welcomes the establishment of an independent review of the management arrangements for Gladstone Harbour, and requests that these efforts result in the optimization of port development and operation in Gladstone Harbour and on Curtis Island, as well as other existing port developments, consistent with the highest internationally recognized standards for best practice commensurate with iconic World Heritage status;

5. Also welcomes the renewed commitment for the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and associated Reef Rescue measures and the positive results indicated in the Second Reef Plan Record Card;

6. Notes with concern the limited progress made by the State Party in implementing key requests made by the Committee (Decision 36 COM 7B.8) and the recommendations of the March 2012 joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission as well as on-going coastal development on the Reef, and urges the State Party to strengthen its efforts in order to fully implement the Committee requests and mission recommendations that have not yet or only partially been implemented, including by making commitments to:

a) Ensure rigorously that development is not permitted if it would impact individually or cumulatively on the OUV of the property, or compromise the Strategic Assessment and resulting long-term plan for the sustainable development of the property,

b) Ensure that no port developments or associated port infrastructure are permitted outside the existing and long-established major port areas within or adjoining the property,

c) Ensure that the legislation protecting the property remains strong and adequate to maintain and enhance its OUV;

7. Considers that the above-mentioned issues represent a potential danger to the OUV of the property in line with paragraph 180 of the Operational Guidelines;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property, including on the implementation of actions outlined above as well as on the other points raised in the 2012 mission report, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014, with a view to considering, in the absence of substantial progress, the inscription of the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

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