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Great Barrier Reef World Heritage natural criteria

Key finding

The Great Barrier Reef meets all four World Heritage natural criteria: natural phenomena and exceptional natural beauty; representing major stages of earth's history; significant ongoing ecological and biological processes; and contain the most important and significant habitat.

Great Barrier Reef (information applies statewide, map locations are for reference only)

The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area covers 348,000km2 and includes both marine areas and all the Great Barrier Reef islands contained inside its boundary. The area has the same boundary as the Great Barrier Reef Region, except that it also includes the internal waters and islands of Queensland.

The Great Barrier Reef was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 and was the first coral reef ecosystem in the world to be listed as World Heritage. It is now one of 46 marine World Heritage areas.

Recognition of the Great Barrier Reef’s Outstanding Universal Value was based on all four World Heritage natural criteria in place at the time of listing—acknowledging the Reef’s natural values, together with the strong ongoing links between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their sea country.

More information:

Indicator: Area reflects the scope and breadth of World Heritage natural criteria

Great Barrier Reef World Heritage natural criteria identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Convention.

Great Barrier Reef World Heritage natural criteria

World Heritage natural criteria Criteria summary

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 8 January 2019

Assessment summary

See an overview of gradings for World Heritage in the assessment summary.