On 26 June 1945, 50 nations, including Australia, signed the UN Charter, committing toworking together to achieve a peaceful and just world.
That same year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was established to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity.
Part of UNESCO’s work includes the listing of World Heritage Sites, which have been carefully assessed as representing the best examples of the world's cultural and natural heritage.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest World Heritage Site in the world, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometres. The reef was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981.
No other World Heritage Site contains as much biodiversity as the Great Barrier Reef, which includes 400 species of coral, 4,000 species of mollusk, 240 species of birds plus sponges, crustaceans and fish.
A World Heritage listing goes a long way to protecting the enormous scientific and intrinsic importance of the reef.
World Heritage listing has featured in promotions that have resulted in greatly increased tourist visitation from overseas and within Australia.
Local communities benefit from possible increases in employment opportunities and income, as well as improved planning and management of the region.
According to the Federal Department Of The Environment, “The Australian Government has focused on assisting of World Heritage properties by providing resources for strengthening management and improving interpretation and visitor facilities.”
“World Heritage listing also promotes local and national pride in the property and develops feelings of national responsibility to protect the area.”
For more about the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, click here.