• Lisa Elliott

Australian Marine Conservation Society

Giving our Great Barrier Reef a lifeline through the World Heritage Committee


Contact Name Emma Morgan, Major Relationships Specialist Email emmamorgan@amcs.org.au Address PO Box 5815 WEST END QLD 4101 Phone Number 0409 406 530


Charity website www.marineconservation.org.au DGR Registration Link https://abr.business.gov.au/ABN/View/53409718351 ACNC Page Link https://www.acnc.gov.au/charity/017c0dcbd2f5f257ade7251ffa9c0871

Please provide a brief, two sentence overview of the project that requires funding.

Our Great Barrier Reef is in terrible danger from global warming, polluted water and unsustainable fisheries. The most powerful means of rescuing it is through the next crucial meeting of the World Heritage Committee (whc.unesco.org/en/committee/) which must ensure Australia properly protects the Reef and invests in its future.


Overview of Organisation The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is the voice for Australia's ocean wildlife. We are an independent charity, staffed by a committed group of professional and passionate scientists, educators and advocates who have defended Australia's oceans for over 50 years. We work every day on behalf of the community to protect our ocean wildlife.

We work on the big issues facing the sea. We create marine sanctuaries, combat plastic pollution, make our fisheries sustainable and protect and recover our threatened ocean wildlife, such as our sea turtles, seals and whales.


Most importantly, we tackle the biggest threat to our ocean and especially the Great Barrier Reef -global warming. Through our Fight for our Reef campaign we are working to ensure that Australia transitions rapidly to clean renewable energy at home and exports renewable energy to the world.


Our long list of achievements for Australia’s marine life is on our website-www.marineconservation.org.au/about/


Describe the project that requires funding: The condition of our Great Barrier Reef in a warming world is very, very poor but not lost. It has just suffered its third mass bleaching event in five years. We are running out of time to put things right for our Reef, which is fundamental to who we are as Australians. Mercifully, the coming months herald an enormous opportunity to drive strong reforms to address the three greatest threats to our Reef: global warming, poor water quality and poor fisheries management. As we urgently work to reduce Australia’s contribution to global carbon emissions, there is a lot we must do to build the Reef’s resilience and improve its health by fixing its fisheries and cleaning up its waters.


Our Great Barrier Reef is World Heritage-listed due to its outstanding global significance. This means that the World Heritage Committee has oversight of its management. Over the last five years World Heritage Committee meetings have been the most powerful driver of domestic policy reforms to improve the way Australia manages our national treasure. This meeting is the most important to date as it will decide whether or not to declare the Reef as World Heritage In Danger.


Our World Heritage campaign goal is ambitious, but if we get the outcome we are looking for, it will be historic and game changing. If we succeed, it will benefit all life and all natural ecosystems.


The World Heritage Committee was set to meet this year in June-July but it has been delayed due to COVID-19, with a new date yet to be set. We are proud to have Imogen Zethoven (AO) as our Strategic Director for our Fight for our Reef, but her funding runs out at the end of July 2020, when the meeting was due to conclude. Imogen has led our World Heritage work for the last five years and is pivotal to the success of this campaign. We’re not aware of any other person who has done as much for Reef conservation as Imogen over her professional career in Australia and abroad. She is the best person to drive this campaign, which requires a perfect mix of campaign and policy experience, intellectual rigour and historic connections with global conservation players (see her short bio on our website- www.marineconservation.org.au/people/imogen-zethoven-ao/). We urgently need funding to continue Imogen’s post for the next seven months until the next meeting is due to occur. During this time Imogen will build our pre meeting advocacy that is crucial to securing the development of a climate policy aligned with 1.5C and to strengthen water quality and fisheries controls.

Please describe any collaboration you have had with other organisations in relation to this project: AMCS works closely with Earthjustice in the US (a not for profit environmental law organisation) and WWF Australia to share intelligence, develop joint policies, support each other’s advocacy and collaborate on joint events.

Funds requested from Pool of Dreams sub-fund: $18,000 to retain Imogen (part-time) through to the rescheduled meeting, AMCS will cover operating and campaign costs for the duration of this campaign.

Other sources of funding AEGN funders: We have previously received funding to run our World Heritage work which covers a component for Imogen’s salary until the end of July. With the pandemic-driven unexpected changes to the timing of this crucial WHC meeting, AMCS does not currently have any additional funds to supplement Imogen’s salary. There are remaining funds already committed to cover research, travel, communications and other items requested in the original proposal to the AEGN donor group.

When would this project be expected to start? Our World Heritage project work is already in train but it will come to a halt by the end of July if we cannot retain Imogen’s expertise for this critical work.

When would you anticipate this project to be completed? As previously mentioned, UNESCO has not yet announced a new date for the meeting, however, IUCN’s World Conservation Congress has been pushed back from early June 2020 to mid January 2021. We are expecting a similar delay, so anticipated funding is needed for a further 7 months of Imogen’s time, therefore we expect a similar delay.

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