UNESCO World Heritage Values

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee listed the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage Area based on all four natural criteria:

  1. Be outstanding examples representing the major stages of the earth's evolutionary history; 
  2. Be outstanding examples representing significant ongoing geological processes, biological evolution and man's interaction with his natural environment;
  3. Contain unique, rare or superlative natural phenomena, formations or features or areas of exceptional natural beauty, such as superlative examples of the most important ecosystems to man; and 
  4. Be habitats where populations of rare or endangered species of plants and animals still survive.

Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan

The Reef 2050 Plan responds to the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation that Australia develop a long-term plan for sustainable development to protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the Reef. The Plan is informed by both the Outlook Report 2014 and the comprehensive two-year strategic assessment of the region — the most complex and comprehensive analysis of environmental management arrangements ever undertaken in Australia. The Plan has seven overarching themes reflecting the priorities for action:  ecosystem health, biodiversity, heritage, water quality, community benefits, economic benefits and governance.