A couple walk near a canal in Venice, Italy. UNESCO has recommended adding Venice to its endangered heritage list.(Reuters File Photo.)
A couple walk near a canal in Venice, Italy. UNESCO has recommended adding Venice to its endangered heritage list.(Reuters File Photo.)

Great Barrier Reef downgraded: Other UN World Heritage sites in danger

Australia said on Tuesday that it will fight against plans to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status due to climate change.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JUN 23, 2021 07:27 AM IST

The World Heritage Committee under UNESCO has proposed to downgrade the status of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, recommending it to be added to the list of World Heritage sites in danger. The committee said it's recommendation is based on the detrimental impact of climate change.

Irked by the decision, Australia said it will challenge UNESCO's draft recommendation. "For us to be singled out in a way that completely distorts the normal process was something we were very strong about. And we made the point that we will challenge this decision when it comes before the full committee later on in July," Environment minister Sussan Ley said, noting that the authorities were "blindsided by a sudden late decision".

UNESCO's proposal also sparked an outcry among representatives of tourism businesses, as they fear the inclusion in the list of sites in danger will affect the industry.

Here are the other places that risk losing their treasured heritage site status:

Venice

UNESCO said that the city in Italy has been damaged by "overtourism", and recommended adding Venice to its endangered heritage list.

The UN body acknowledged that the number of tourists have "drastically decreased" during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the damage has already been done and called for more sustainable tourism.

Budapest

The Hungarian city, bisected by river Danube, has been put on the endangered list because of a major renovation of the Buda Castle quarter. The move is aimed at restoring the city's pre-World War 2 glory.

But UNESCO argues that the reconstruction flouts international conservation norms and called for the work be halted.

Liverpool

The maritime city in England has faced the greatest fury of UNESCO, which has recommended taking Liverpool off the World Heritage list altogether.

The reason for the harsh decision is the redevelopment of Liverpool's historic waterfront and northern dock area. UNESCO chided the city for failing to cap the heights for new buildings.

Tanzania game reserve

The granting of logging rights inside the Selous Game Reserve has landed it in hot water with UNESCO. The UN had recently expressed alarm over the construction of a dam on the Rufiji river, the country's largest.

Lamenting Tanzania's decision to forge ahead with the project, despite the ecological threat to the floodplain, UNESCO says the reserve's "outstanding" character has suffered "irreversible" damage and recommended that it be taken off the World Heritage list.

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