Great Barrier Reef recommended to be added to a list of “in danger” World Heritage Sites
Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Climate change
- Recently, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee has recommended that the Australia’s Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of “in danger” World Heritage Sites.
- It was recommended to add to the list because of the impact of climate change.
- Despite Reef 2050, the coral reef ecosystem has suffered three major bleaching events since 2015 due to severe marine heatwaves.
- The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan is the Australian and Queensland Government’s framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef by 2050.
- Australia, which is one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita, has remained reluctant to commit to stronger climate action and has pointed out jobs as a major reason to continue fossil fuel industries.
- It has not updated its climate goals since 2015.
About Great Barrier Reef
- It is the world’s most extensive and spectacular coral reef ecosystem composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands.
- The reef is located in the Coral Sea (North-East Coast), off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
- It can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
- This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps.
- Polyps are tiny, soft-bodied organisms.
- At their base is a hard, protective limestone skeleton called a calicle, which forms the structure of coral reefs.
- These polyps have microscopic algae called zooxanthellae living within their tissues. The corals and algae have a mutualistic (symbiotic) relationship.
- It was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.
Initiatives to Protect Corals
- International Coral Reef Initiative
- Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN)
- Global Coral Reef Alliance (GCRA)
- The Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform
- The Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), India has included the studies on coral reefs under the Coastal Zone Studies (CZS).
- The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), with help from Gujarat’s forest department, is attempting a process to restore coral reefs using “biorock” or mineral accretion technology.
- National Coastal Mission Programme, to protect and sustain coral reefs in India.