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Is the Great Barrier Reef listed as a World Heritage in Danger? UN experts have disagreements with the Australian government

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Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, November 30. An expert group of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization recommended on the 29th that the Great Barrier Reef, which runs through the northeast coast of Australia, be included in the list of endangered world heritage. However, the Australian government opposes this.

The UNESCO "Great Barrier Reef Reactivity Monitoring Mission" visited the Great Barrier Reef in March this year and had extensive exchanges with stakeholders. Based on this, the report was completed and released on the 29th. The report believes that the Great Barrier Reef is "under serious threat", and recommends that this tourist attraction be included in the list of World Heritage in Danger.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef, and climate change has caused serious damage to the sea. In the past 20 years, there have been many mass bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef.

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The Great Barrier Reef (drone photo) taken in Queensland, Australia on June 2, 2021. Published by Xinhua News Agency (Photo by Hu Jingchen)

The report said the Great Barrier Reef was "significantly affected by climate change" despite huge conservation efforts in recent years. Due to factors such as deteriorating water quality, the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef has been severely damaged.

The report emphasizes that the current protection plan lacks clear goals and measures to deal with climate change, especially the protection measures related to water quality and fishery activities have not been fully implemented.

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Australian Minister of the Environment and Water Resources Tanya Pribesek said at a press conference on the 29th that the Australian government believes that UNESCO should not list the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Site in Danger because coral reefs in many places around the world are affected. The impact of climate change, "there is no need to single out the Great Barrier Reef."

Coral reefs in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef, taken in Queensland, Australia on June 2, 2021. Photo by Xinhua News Agency reporter Zhang Yue

Plibesek also said that in the past, UNESCO put a place on the List of World Heritage in Danger in order to prompt the government to increase investment and strengthen protection efforts. Under the new government led by the Labor Party, Australia has already adopted protection measures. initiative without UNESCO's promotion.

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According to Reuters, the Australian government recently pledged to invest 1.2 billion Australian dollars (about 800 million U.S. dollars) in the next few years to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia's most well-known natural landscape, bringing considerable tourism income to Australia. The Australian government has been committed to preventing the Great Barrier Reef from being listed as a World Heritage in Danger for many years. Pribesek said the United Nations World Heritage Committee will meet next year to make a final decision. (Bao Xuelin)

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(Editors in charge: Ai Wen, Liu Yeting)

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