YouNesco seeks votes for UNESCO on Great Barrier Reef dredge spoil dumping plan



Posted on 23 May 2014  | 
Hardy Reef, aerial view. Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-CanonEnlarge
Brisbane, Australia - With UNESCO's World Heritage Committee meeting to consider the condition of the Great Barrier Reef and other world heritage sites in less than four weeks, YouNesco.org has been created as a new platform to collect votes on Australian government plans to dump dredge spoil in reef waters. 

The Fight for the Reef campaign, backed by the Australian Marine Conservation Society and WWF-Australia, aims to take the YouNesco vote tallies to the annual meeting of the World Heritage Committee, ’, commencing in Doha, Qatar on June 15.

Richard Leck from WWF-Australia said UNESCO, the UN body charged with protecting the planet’s World Heritage sites, recently expressed “concern” and “regret” about recent development approvals, including dredging and dumping for the planned Abbot Point coal terminal expansion.

“In the next four weeks, the World Heritage Committee has a critical role to play - it must hold Australian governments accountable for protecting the Reef,” he said.

“UNESCO’s concerns are shared by hundreds of thousands of people across the world from all walks of life.

“The global ‘YouNesco’ vote is a chance for citizens of the world who care about the Reef to have a say in what happens, and provide their views to discussions normally made behind close doors.”

AMCS Great Barrier Reef Campaign Director, Felicity Wishart, said the Australian and Queensland governments were not moving fast enough to halt major destructive developments alongside the Reef.

“It seems the Federal and Queensland governments either don’t understand what’s at stake or worse they’re deliberately ignoring the World Heritage Committee,” she said.

“There’s no policy commitment to actually reduce the impact of port development, there’s no guarantee that the most pristine areas like Keppel Bay and the northern part of the Reef will be protected and no-one’s seen a clear plan for halting the impacts of development and managing the Reef overall.

“This is a crucial time for taking a stand for the Reef’s long-term protection, before its too late,” she said.

Votes can be cast now at younesco.org

WWF-Australia media contact: Daniel Rockett mobile +61 432 206 592, email drockett@wwf.org.au, twitter @DRock1978

Notes to editors:
UNESCO is the United Nations agency for education, science and culture. Its purpose is to protect our World Heritage – the places with “outstanding universal value.” The Great Barrier Reef is one of these places.
The World Heritage Committee was created by UNESCO, and it votes on what becomes World Heritage listed, and what does not. It will meet from 15-25 June 2014 in Doha and the Great Barrier Reef is on the agenda.
YouNesco is a new initiative created by WWF to make sure that the people of the world are heard when UNESCO makes big decisions. A vote can be cast online at younesco.org. The question posed is “Should the Australian Government protect the Great Barrier Reef and ban dumping in its World Heritage waters”. The votes from YouNesco will be tallied and presented to UNESCO ambassadors before they cast theirs.

 

Hardy Reef, aerial view. Great Barrier Reef & Coral Sea, Australia
© Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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