UN powerless to force reef protection

Posted: 03/15/2012 in all marine news

Patrick Caruana – 

A UN-led delegation inspecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef says it will be entirely up to the Australian government to implement its recommendations.

The team was sent by the UN’s environmental arm UNESCO to compile a report on the World Heritage area, after the international body rebuked the government for failing to inform it about a big LNG development near Gladstone.

The delegation has met with fishing groups, environmental groups and industry bodies and tomorrow will meet federal Environment Minister Tony Burke, before leaving Australia on March 14.

Its report will be presented to the World Heritage Committee in June, which will then decide whether to list the reef as a World Heritage Site in Danger.

Delegation member Tim Badman, from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), said he could only make recommendations and it would be up to the government to implement them.

“I think it might be a question you would address to the Australian government about how the government responds to the World Heritage Committee,” Mr Badman told reporters in Townsville today.

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