Reactive Monitoring Mission to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage property (Australia)
A joint international expert mission to the World Heritage property of Great Barrier Reef by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is taking place from 5 to 14 March 2012.
The World Heritage Committee, at its 35th session in June 2011 (Paris) examined the state of conservation of Great Barrier Reef (Australia), inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981. The Committee noted with extreme concern the approval of Liquefied Natural Gas processing and port facilities on Curtis island within the World Heritage property. The Committee further requested the Australian Government invite a reactive monitoring mission to visit the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site.
The objective of this monitoring mission is to assess the overall state of conservation of the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the Great Barrier Reef; and to assist the Australian Government with the strategic assessment they are undertaking to provide for the long-term sustainable conservation of the World Heritage property.
The mission will visit not only the pristine and iconic areas of the Great Barrier Reef, but also the adjacent urban, industrial and port areas that are fundamental to Queensland and Australia’s future economic and community development. The World Heritage Centre, IUCN and both the Australian and Queensland governments are working in close collaboration to plan and coordinate the mission. Opportunities will be provided for the mission to meet with the Australian authorities at both the federal and state level, leading Australian scientists who contribute their valuable knowledge to managing the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding environments. These scientists will provide an independent perspective on the status of risks to the site. The mission will also meet with a range of key stakeholders including environmental groups, local governments, Traditional Owners and industry groups.
The WHC and IUCN experts are expected to prepare a joint report which will be examined by the World Heritage Committee at its next session which will take place in June/July 2012 in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation. The state of conservation of the property has been included on the agenda of the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee.
Press queries: Leanne O’Rourkes
The World Heritage Committee,
1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add,
2. Notes with extreme concern the approval of Liquefied Natural Gas processing and port facilities on Curtis Island within the property;
3. Urges the State Party to undertake a comprehensive strategic assessment of the entire property, identifying planned and potential future development that could impact the Outstanding Universal Value to enable a long-term plan for sustainable development that will protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
4. Regrets that the State Party did not inform the Committee as per paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines and requests the State Party to report, in accordance with paragraph 172, its intention to undertake or to authorize any new development that may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of the property before making decisions that would be difficult to reverse;
5. Also requests the State Party to invite a World Heritage Centre / IUCN reactive monitoring mission as soon as possible to consider the state of conservation of the property as a whole, and to contribute to the strategic assessment process;
6. Welcomes the State Party's commitment to improve the property's resilience and its ability to adapt to climate change and other forms of environmental degradation following the extreme weather events;
7. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2012, a report on the course of action taken in response to this decision for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 36th session in 2012.Read more about the decision