The Great Barrier reef has undergone three major coral bleaching events over the last five years, and since 1995 has lost half its corals as sea temperatures rise.

The UNESCO proposal says it’s vital for Australia to follow up on the recommendations of the 2019 report, which called for ‘accelerated action to mitigate climate change and improve water quality.’.

The UN body published a draft report on Monday advising that the reef’s status should be downgraded to world heritage status because of dramatic coral extinction.

“with the utmost concern and regret… that the long-term outlook for the ecosystem of the property has further deteriorated from poor to very poor.”Martin Zavan

Australia commended the reef improvements efforts and financial commitments it had undertaken, but noted “with particular concern and regret” that the long-term prospects for the property’s ecosystem had further deteriorated, from “very poor to very poor.”

Environment Minister Sussan Ley and Foreign Minister Marise Payne phoned UNESCO’s Director-General on Monday night to express their ‘strong disappointment’ and ‘dismay’ at a move that Australia would challenge, Ms Ley confirmed.

Australia has resisted calls to set a target of net zero emissions by 2050, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying the federal government hopes to achieve a “carbon neutral development””as soon as possible” while remaining compatible with the resource-dependent economy.

A study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society Journal last October reported that half of the reef’s coral had been dead in the past 25 years.

Bleaching occurs when changes in sea temperatures affect healthy coral, which causes them to eject algae living in their tissues – depriving them of their bright colors.

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World Heritage Site

A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization . (wikipedia)

Great Barrier Reef

The world’s largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres (wikipedia)

Barnaby Joyce

Barnaby Thomas Gerard Joyce is an Australian politician. He is the current leader of the National Party and has served as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia from 22 June 2021, (wikipedia)

Sussan Ley

Sussan Penelope Ley is an Australian Liberal Party politician serving as Minister for the Environment since 2019, and has served as Member of Parliament for Farrer since 2001. (wikipedia)

Marise Payne

Marise Ann Payne is an Australian politician who has been Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Morrison Government since 2018 and Minister for Women since 2019. (wikipedia)

Minister for the Environment (Australia)

The Australian Minister for the Environment is The Hon. Sussan Ley MP since May 2019. (wikipedia)

World Heritage in Danger

The List of World Heritage in Danger is compiled by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization through the World Heritage Committee according to Article 11. (wikipedia)

World Heritage Sites in the United Kingdom

The United Nations Educational, (wikipedia)

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World Heritage Sites in Oceania

A World Heritage Site is a location that is listed by UNESCO as having outstanding cultural or natural value to the common heritage of humanity. (wikipedia)