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Reef crest dominated by robust branching corals and coralline algae, Great Barrief Reef © WWF / James Morgan

World Heritage puts Australia on probation

People power wins

02 Jul 2015

  • climate change
  • coral
  • fight for the reef
  • great barrier reef
  • world heritage

Here in Bonn, Germany, last night the World Heritage Committee chose to stand with WWF supporters and the Reef.  Their decision is final: the Australian Government is on probation and must improve the health of the Reef.


When the Great Barrier Reef finally came up on the agenda I had the privilege of addressing the Committee.  It was the chance we needed at the crucial moment to remind the Committee that the eyes of the world were watching.  They heard again how 563,480 everyday people - from 177 countries around the world – were watching their decision, and expecting them to help save the Reef.


The Committee discussed the Reef at length – it was clear they understood the importance of their decision; the Reef is at risk, and real action to protect it is a must.


I think the delegate from Germany summed up the situation best when he said: “It’s a plan.  As with every plan, it’s only as good as its implementation.  There’s still a long way to go, the commitments need to be put into legislation and adequate sustainable financing needs to be secured.”


This is huge news for the Reef.  WWF supporters pushed the government to commit to ban dredging and minimise dumping on the Great Barrier Reef.  They pushed them to develop the Reef2050 plan.  And now they've secured the backing of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, to hold our Governments accountable for real action. 


The WWF team and I here in Bonn are celebrating this momentous win for the Reef – for the turtles, for the coral and the dugongs.


To our WWF supporters, this is your win.  Make sure you celebrate it too!


Thank you 563,480 times!