Scientists defend UNESCO in row with Australia over Great Barrier Reef

Five climate and marine experts wrote to UNESCO to thank it for threatening to put Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on its list of endangered World Heritage sites in a step that has angered the Australian government.

The UN’s cultural agency “made the right decision to recommend that the world’s most iconic Reef system be inscribed on the List of World Heritage In Danger,” said the five.

In a draft report ahead of a key meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in China on July 16, the UN body last month recommended the world’s largest reef system, the jewel in Australia’s tourism crown, be downgraded because of damage to the corals, chiefly from global warming.

Emphasizing the decision was made on the basis of scientific reports coming out of Australia itself, the head of UNESCO’s World Heritage marine program said, “It’s a warning to the international community and all of humanity that the coral ecosystem is in danger.”


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