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!