I'm Declaring The Reef In Danger
Our open letter I'm Declaring the Reef in Danger, gained 54,804 signatures.
It contributed to the Great Barrier Reef having an international spotlight shed on its chronic decline in health and its highly controversial, potential listing as 'World Heritage in Danger'. Thank you a million times over to everyone who supported.
See our Reef Ambassadors and read our Open Letter below:
Our open letter:
June 16th, 2015
Attn: Professor Dr Maria Böhmer, Chairperson, World Heritage Committee, UNESCO & Minister of State
Federal Foreign Office, The Bundestag, Germany
Ms. Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO
Ms. Inger Andersen, Director General, IUCN
H.E. Sheikha Al-Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani (immediate past chairperson)
Re: The Great Barrier Reef is in great danger
Dear Professor Böhmer,
We are women of Australia and the world making this appeal directly to you, the three women heads of the World Heritage Committee and its expert advisers, UNESCO and the IUCN, currently considering the Great Barrier Reef for declaration as 'World Heritage in Danger'.
Although we wish it were otherwise, we are urging the World Heritage Committee to list the reef as 'in Danger' to stop further irreversible damage and to protect it for generations to come.
The reef's plight is unbearably sad. Its story is the story of climate change:
- Recognised as World Heritage in 1981 for its Outstanding Universal Value, the reef is in crisis.
- The pressures it now faces are undermining the very reasons for its original listing as World Heritage.
- This vast, incredible eco-system is being overwhelmed by climate change with its destructive combination of heat-driven coral bleaching, ocean acidification and turbo-charged tropical storms, as well as the Crown of Thorns starfish, industrial development, and nutrient and chemical laden run-off from the land.
- An estimated half of the reef's coral cover already has been lost in the three decades since the reef was inscribed as World Heritage.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Outlook Report 2014 warned that: 'Climate change remains the most serious threat to the Great Barrier Reef. It is already affecting the Reef and is likely to have far-reaching consequences in the decades to come. Sea temperatures are on the rise and this trend is expected to continue, leading to an increased risk of mass coral bleaching; gradual ocean acidification will increasingly restrict coral growth and survival; and there are likely to be more intense weather events.'
In this open letter we are urging the World Heritage Committee to:
- Not be swayed by intensive lobbying and assurances by the Australian Government and/or State of Queensland that fears for the reef are overblown and that its protection is in hand.
- Therefore ensure that there is no diverting from the fact that the reef is 'in danger' from climate change, and to proceed with the 'World Heritage in Danger' listing this year.
- Alternatively, if the World Heritage Committee is not yet ready to proceed with an 'in Danger' listing, then postpone a final decision and keep the Reef on 'watch-and-act status' for review in 2017 or 2018.
- There comes a time when the self-defensive protestations of individual nations must be overridden precisely because World Heritage is so special, and the responsibility for its protection is shared globally. That time has arrived for the Great Barrier Reef.
On behalf of 1 Million Women
Natalie Isaacs and Tara Hunt
On behalf of 1 Million Women and the 54,804 signatories to the letter.
Photo courtesy of Al Mackinnon.