UNESCO not expected to list Great Barrier Reef 'in danger'

JUDGEMENT day for the Great Barrier Reef has come.

After many months of government funding announcements and international trips spruiking the 2300km-long structure's health, UNESCO will tonight(Friday May29) hand down its draft recommendation for whether the reef should be listed as a world heritage site "in danger".

But a James Cook University chief research scientist believes the Federal and State governments will receive a reprieve - for the moment.

Jon Brodie(CORRECT), who leads the Catchment to Reef Research Group at the university's Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research, does not think the reef will receive an "in danger" listing.

But Mr Brodie said UNESCO was likely to assess Australia's progress again soon, perhaps as little as two years.

He said evaluating the situation again so soon would keep pressure on the governments to fund and implement the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

But Mr Brodie described the plan as weak "scientifically and generally".

The plan, which includes input from scientists, communities, traditional owners, industry and non-government organisations, was developed as a response to the World Heritage Committee's recommendation Australia create a long-term strategy to protect the reef.

Half of the reef's coral cover has disappeared over the past 30 years.

Climate change, the crown-of-thorns starfish, water pollution and a lengthening list of resources projects in Queensland have many people concerned.

Even US President Barack Obama and actor Leonardo DiCaprio waded into the debate this year about the reef's health, warning it was under threat.

- APN NEWSDESK


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