UNESCO Rejects Australia’s Attempt To Delist Tasmanian Forests As A World Heritage Area

Today, in the latest instalment of the humiliating diplomatic tragicomedy that is the current Australian government’s positively medieval attitudes towards climate change, the environment and conservation – *sticks tissue in ears, sings la la la* – UNESCO, the UN’s data-driven conservation arms, has unanimously rejected the government’s bid to delist a significant portion of Tasmanian forest as a protected world heritage site. 

UNESCO unanimously rejected the bid to open 74,000 hectares of pristine Tasmanian wilderness to the logging industry in a motion which was dead and buried in less than ten minutes.
Portugal’s delegate said that anything less than rejecting Australia’s request would set a perilous precedent for other nations and undermine UNESCO’s ability to protect sites of cultural and environmental significance in the future. 

“The justifications presented [for] the reduction are, to say the least, feeble,” she said. “Accepting this delisting today would be setting an unacceptable precedent, impossible to deny in similar circumstances in the future. If this committee cares for conservation according to responsible engagement of state parties to the convention when they submit their nominations, we cannot accept this requested delisting.”  

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who had previously expressed interest in making “locked up” forests available to the logging industry by repealing the bounds of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage Area determined last year under the forest peace deal, expressed disappointment in the decision. 

“The application that we made to remove from the boundaries of the World Heritage listing – areas of degraded forest, areas of plantation timber – we thought was self-evidently sensible,” he said.
Greens leader Christine Milne, however, expressed the opposite. “Thankfully the world community doesn’t believe political point scoring is a legitimate reason to abandon a globally significant area and to destroy the outstanding universal values for which it is famous,” she said.
The vote took place at UNESCO’s annual meeting in Doha, where the committee of the willing to acknowledge the existence of climate change heeded the wise words of Professor Leonardo DiCaprio and warned less than a week ago that the Great Barrier Reef could, in a move designed to protect against the highly contentious decision to approve the dumping of three million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the Abbot Point coal terminal within the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area, be placed on a list of threatened world heritage sites.
Welcome to Australia, where the rest of the world cares more about our environment than our own government does.