Expert legal report by US-based Earthjustice and Environmental Justice Australia, finds that the Reef has met as many as 6 out of the 8 criteria for an ‘in danger’ listing.

MELBOURNE/ SAN FRANCISCO, 11 June 2015: A new report released today questions the World Heritage Committee’s recent draft decision not to inscribe Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The expert legal report by US-based Earthjustice and Environmental Justice Australia, finds that the Reef has met as many as 6 out of the 8 criteria for an ‘in danger’ listing.

“Our legal analysis finds that the Reef meets the criteria for inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger,” said Ariane Wilkinson, lawyer at Environmental Justice Australia.

“The World Heritage Convention provides that, for a World Heritage site to be inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger by the World Heritage Committee, it needs to be threatened by serious and specific dangers,” continued Ms Wilkinson.

“To assess these dangers, there are eight criteria for natural properties under the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention, and if the Committee finds that the condition of the property corresponds to at least one of these criteria,it can inscribe the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.” Ms Wilkinson went on.

“The condition of the Great Barrier Reef clearly meets five of the eight criteria, and arguably meets a sixth.  This means six of eight possible red flags have been raised.  Since when is two out of eight a good mark?” asked Ms Wilkinson.

“The World Heritage Committee is due to make its final decision on the Reef in July.  An ‘in danger’ listing either this year, or in 2017 if stronger action is not taken, remains a real possibility.” she concluded.

“If the World Heritage system is to have any value, it must address the most serious threats to the most iconic examples of world heritage,” said Martin Wagner, attorney at US-based Earthjustice.

“If any site falls into this category, it is the threatened Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef on the planet and one of its richest and most complex ecosystems.  The World Heritage Committee should step up to ensure that this unique and threatened part of humanity’s world heritage is not lost forever,” he concluded.

Read The Report:https://envirojustice.org.au/protecting-the-great-barrier-reef-report

Media Brief: https://envirojustice.org.au/great-barrier-reef-report-media-brief