Roadmap to save our World Heritage Reef

Our World Heritage listed Reef and the 9000 species that call it home are irreplaceable.

The Great Barrier Reef was the first reef in the world to be inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1981 for its Outstanding Universal Values. It is the largest living structure on the planet, unparalleled in beauty and diversity.

For over a decade the World Heritage Committee (WHC) has played a critical role in driving stronger protection policies for the Great Barrier Reef. With long held concerns about the Australian and Queensland governments’ management of the Reef, World Heritage experts UNESCO and IUCN have kept the international spotlight on our Reef. 

In 2013, the Reef was first considered for inscription on the List of World Heritage ‘in Danger’.

In 2022, experts published a report with 22 solutions to improve the health of our Reef and again recommended that the Reef be added to the ‘in Danger’ list.

World Heritage timeline for Great Barrier Reef threat management

See our report ‘The Last Decade’ for a more detailed history.

The Reef and surrounding coastal areas have been significantly impacted by land use change since colonisation, resulting in water pollution (sediment and nutrient pollution run-off from agricultural activities), industrialisation, high risk fishing and more recently, climate change impacts with increasing frequency. 

The Australian and Queensland governments have made important steps toward helping the Reef, but action on climate change, water pollution and high risk fishing falls short of what is needed to protect the Reef and the $6 billion industry and 64,000 jobs it supports.

Our government has been handed a roadmap to save our Reef and the science is clear. There’s no time to lose!


Urge our governments to follow the roadmap to save our Reef:

The Roadmap to save our Reef

The roadmap for our government to save our Reef is clearly outlined in UNESCO’s Report on the Reactive Monitoring Mission (Mission Report), which contains 22 recommendations that must be enacted to protect the Reef and its World Heritage Status.

The recommendations address key threats including, climate change, water pollution, tree clearing in Reef catchments and unsustainable fishing.

Our campaign focuses on fulfillment of 10 of the total 22 recommendations in the Report, which we've summarised into four key points.

World Heritage FAQs

1. Implement climate policies to limit global warming to 1.5C – a critical threshold for the survival of coral reefs

2. Improve water quality to meet the 2025 water quality targets by enforcing regulations, repair degraded gullies and restore coastal wetlands

3. End tree clearing and protect native vegetation in Reef catchments

4. Stop gillnet fishing and monitor trawling catches to protect threatened species such as dugongs and turtles

Our goal is to build public pressure using science and community-based advocacy to ensure the Australian and Queensland governments take urgent action to address these threats. This is the critical decade to enact solutions to protect our Reef’s World Heritage Status.

See the full Mission Report