Statement of WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman
WWF supports UNESCO’s draft decision on the Great Barrier Reef because it will keep the pressure on Australia to turn promises into real actions and results.
In reality Australia is being put on probation. The real work to turn around the decline of the Reef starts now. The Australian Government’s plan to rescue the Reef needs a significant injection of funds if it is to achieve its goal of bringing back the health of the Reef.
In only 18 months, the Australian Government must give a progress report to UNESCO to demonstrate it is delivering on its promises.
If the Reef 2050 plan is not being effectively rolled out there is a strong chance the Reef will be declared “World Heritage in danger” in 2017 following that progress report.
If Australia does avoid listing in 2017, then unless there is significant improvement in the condition of the Reef, the World Heritage Committee will almost certainly declare the Reef “in danger” when it considers the findings of the next Outlook Report in 2020.
A newspaper report today wrongly implies that WWF will tell the World Heritage Committee that we have full confidence in the Reef 2050 Plan. That is not accurate. For the reasons outlined above WWF has serious concerns about Reef 2050.
WWF-Australia Media Contact:
Mark Symons, Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571