The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland - More Information
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and one of the best managed marine areas in the world. At 348 000 square kilometres, the reef is one of the richest and most diverse natural ecosystems on Earth. The unique qualities of this property were recognised in 1981 when it was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
World Heritage Committee decisions
Australia is committed to ensuring the Great Barrier Reef retains the values for which it received its world heritage listing.
The World Heritage Committee has considered the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area at its last four sessions.
In its decisions, the Committee has requested that the Australian Government undertake a range of measures to ensure that the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is not compromised.
- The 2014 World Heritage Committee decision on the Great Barrier Reef (PDF - 18.04 KB) | (DOCX - 24.86 KB)
The full text of the previous decisions of the World Heritage Committee are available on the UNESCO web site:
- 2013 Committee decision 37 COM 7B.10 Great Barrier Reef (Australia (N 154)
- 2012 Committee decision 36 COM 7B.8 Great Barrier Reef (Australia) (N 154)
- 2011 Committee decision 35 COM 7B.10 Great Barrier Reef (Australia) (N 154)
In each of the recent Committee decisions Australia was requested to provide the Committee with a State Party Report on the state of conservation of the reef.
State Party Reports
Australia has been working hard to address the issues raised in the Committee's decisions and the recommendations of the joint monitoring mission that visited the reef in March 2012.
On 1 February 2012, 1 February 2013 and 31 January 2014, Australia submitted detailed State Party Reports to the Committee outlining:
- the nature of the threats to the reef
- what the Australian Government is doing to improve the resilience of the reef, and
- how the Outstanding Universal Value of the property is being managed and protected.
The reports demonstrate Australia's progress on a wide range of work including the Great Barrier Reef comprehensive strategic assessment, development of the North-East shipping plan as well as important research projects and ongoing adaptive management activities.
- State Party Report on the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (Australia) 2014
- State Party Report on the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (Australia) 2013
- State Party Report on the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (Australia) 2012
Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone
As part of the Australian Government's response to the 2012 decision of the World Heritage Committee regarding the ongoing protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage property, the Australian Government commissioned an Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone.
The Australian Government and the Queensland Government have completed a comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone in accordance with section 146 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The comprehensive strategic assessment has helped to identify, plan for and manage existing and emerging risks to ensure ongoing protection and management of the unique environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and and also ensure that development within and adjacent to the World Heritage Area is sustainable.
For more information see:
- EPBC Act referral guidelines for the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area
- Strategic Assessment - Great Barrier Reef
Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan
The Australian and Queensland government has released the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan for public comment for a six week period until 27 October 2014.
Joint monitoring mission
In March 2012 a joint monitoring mission made up of representatives from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre (WHC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) visited a number of locations within the Great Barrier Reef. They met with a broad range of stakeholders including government, industry and non-government organisation representatives and Traditional Owners. The brief was to assess the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
Reporting to the World Heritage Centre
On 31 October 2011, the department notified the World Heritage Centre of all proposed developments being assessed as Controlled Actions for potential impacts on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) (EPBC Act):
The department has since developed an agreed administrative procedure to notify the World Heritage Centre on a regular basis of proposed developments in all of Australia's world heritage areas: