SYDNEY: Australia called a decision by Unesco to defer listing the Great Barrier Reef as in danger “a win for logic”, but environmentalists said it was a final warning.
The UN cultural agency on Wednesday said the reef could be put on a list of endangered World Heritage Sites if more was not done to protect it.
It voiced alarm at a “serious decline in the condition” of the reef, and said “a business as usual approach to managing the property is not an option”.
Australia was given until February 1 next year to submit a report on what it was doing to protect the natural wonder.
The Queensland state government saw the deferral as “a tick of approval”.
“I welcome this decision by Unesco’s World Heritage Committee, which gives Queensland a big tick and it gives the work we are doing a big tick,” state Environment Minister Andrew Powell said yesterday.
“Our strong plan to protect the Great Barrier Reef is already producing positive results.
“This decision is also a win for logic and science rather than rhetoric and scaremongering.”
The reef is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth, but is under pressure not only from climate change and the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, but agricultural runoff and development linked to mining. — AFP