The World Heritage Committee lauded Australia's effort to cultivate the Reef 2050 Protection Plan, which envisions to "ensure the Great Barrier Reef continues to improve on its Outstanding Universal Value every decade between now and 2050 to be a natural wonder for each successive generation to come," according to Australia's Department of the Environment. The protection plan mainly focuses on cleaning the water and banning dredge spoil dumping onto the reef.
"What we have seen over the past year, especially the past nine months, is a total turnaround on Australia's part on the recommendations given in 2014 by the committee," said Fanny Douvere, head of the UNESCO World Heritage Center's marine program and the technical adviser to UNESCO on the Great Barrier Reef, according to Take Part.
Despite the listing-off as endangered of the world's largest living coral system, UNESCO will be monitoring the health of the reef in the next five years. "Implementation will be overseen by the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum, supported by an intergovernmental operational committee, and will be guided by a Reef Advisory Committee and an independent expert panel. The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan's performance will be subject to a 5-yearly evaluation and adaptation based on the findings of the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report," according to UNESCO Australia.
(Photo : Flickr Commons) Tourists snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia.
The Queensland government is aware of the reef's declining condition, as it was noted last year by the United Nations. "I was absolutely pleased about the decision. It was an incredible moment in history, in Queensland and Australian history!" said Jackie Trad, Queensland's deputy state premier, according to the BBC.
In other news, scientists discovered how humans could save the Great Barrier Reef from global warming, according to the Guardian. "Our research found that corals do not have to wait for new mutations to appear. Averting coral extinction may start with something as simple as an exchange of coral immigrants to spread already existing genetic variants. Coral larvae can move across oceans naturally, but humans could also contribute, relocating adult corals to jump-start the process," said Mikhail Matz, associate professor of integrative biology at the University of Texas at Austin, according to the school's College of Natural Sciences news site.
This great news also encouraged environmentally-inclined people to tweet their support to the preservation of the reef by using the hashtag #GreatBarrierReef, according to Twitter.