Political dispute over the Great Barrier Reef

The Unesco’s inscription of the reef on the list of World Heritage in Danger has angered the Australian government.

Unesco has just received significant support, at a time when a political struggle with Australia has just started, which the UN body would have done well. Five Australian scientists, among the world’s foremost experts on coral reefs, wrote to its chief executive, Audrey Azoulay, telling her that “Unesco took the right decision by recommending that the Great Barrier Reef be inscribed on the list of World Heritage in Danger”.

Sussan Ley, Australia’s Minister for the Environment, has made no secret of her dissatisfaction with a Unesco decision that she describes as “Politically motivated”. The next meeting of the World Heritage Committee, from July 16 to 31, will take place in China, a country with which Canberra has had a frosty relationship since the start of the pandemic.

Powerful lobby

The world’s largest coral reef, which stretches 2,300 km along the country’s east coast, has suffered three episodes of bleaching.

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