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Great Barrier Reef: Australia invests $2.9b

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  • Post category:Environment
  • Post last modified:06/06/2023
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PARIS: The UN’s cultural agency UNESCO welcomed on Tuesday (6th of June, 2023) commitments from Australia to protect the Great Barrier Reef, with the government pledging 4.4 billion Australian dollars ($2.9 billion) to safeguard the natural wonder.

The fate of the reef has been a recurrent source of tension between UNESCO and Australian authorities, with the UN agency’s World Heritage Committee threatening to put the world’s largest coral system on a list of “in danger” global heritage sites.

Behind-the-scenes diplomacy and lobbying from Australia have avoided such a move and fresh commitments from the Labor government of Anthony Albanese, made in a letter seen by AFP, drew praise from the Paris-based organization on Tuesday.

“UNESCO welcomes Australia’s decision to put in place urgent new protection measures for the Great Barrier Reef which were recommended by the organization, including a ban on gillnetting,” UNESCO said in a statement sent to the Media.

In a letter sent by Australian Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay last week, she pledged a “combined investment of A$4.4 billion” from the state of Queensland and Australian governments to protect the reef.

“Our governments are pleased to further commit substantial actions to secure the future of the Reef. These measures include substantial fisheries reforms; accelerated action to improve water quality; and strong, legislated climate action,” Plibersek wrote.

Albanese’s center-left government, which ended nearly a decade of conservative rule in May last year, has also blocked a planned coal mine because it would endanger the reef and has scrapped funding for two dams in Queensland.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the country’s premier tourist drawcards and putting it on the in-danger list was seen as risking putting off international visitors.

UNESCO began a monitoring mission on the reef in March 2022 to assess whether the site was being adequately protected.


M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.