A draft UNESCO report doesn't advise putting Australia's Great Barrier Reef on a World Heritage danger list, but it does strongly recommend that Australia make good on its commitment to preserve the area by restoring water quality and prohibiting more port developments.
A trip to Australia's Ningaloo Reef in the west offers a wealth of marine adventures without the crowds present at the country's more famous Great Barrier Reef, this feature says. Visitors can also head inland for trips to the beach or a 4x4 drive through François Peron National Park.
Over the past 27 years, cyclones, coral bleaching and starfish have destroyed more than half of the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO world heritage site. "If the trend continued, coral cover could halve again by 2022," said Peter Doherty of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.
An environmental team from UNESCO has traveled to Australia out of "extreme concern" over the effects of a government-approved liquefied natural gas plant on the Great Barrier Reef. Environmentalists are seeking a stoppage of plans to increase not only coal production, but dredging and shipping traffic, adding that the expansion could affect the reef's World Heritage status.