The new status of the Great Barrier Reef, which should be added to a list of ‘in danger’ World Heritage Sites, made Australia angry.
Following a UN committee recommendation to change the Reef’s status, Canberra has protested angrily. Over the years, the country has to do its best to keep the Great Barrier Reef, a major tourist spot that a source for thousands of jobs, off the “in danger” UNESCO list. And Thursday UN commission’s recommendation could potentially lead towards its eventual removal as a World Heritage Site.
Australia said the decision had been blindsided by the move and blamed political interference.
The long-term outlook for the world’s biggest coral reef system had deteriorated and action was needed to counter the effects of climate change, said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization committee, which sits under UNESCO.
Australia protects Great Barrier Reff as a tourist spot
Environment Minister Sussan Ley defended Australia’s protection of the reef, while the UN recommendation went against advice given just a week ago.
“This is a complete subversion of normal process,” Ley added.
Ley said she and Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne raised their concerns overnight with the UNESCO chief, Audrey Azoulay. “This decision was flawed. Clearly there were politics behind it,” she explained, without elaborating.
Prime minister Scott Morrison’s government believes China, which chairs the UN committee, is responsible for the move amid a souring of relations between the two nations.