In recognition of the scale and ground-breaking nature of the Reef 2050 Plan, the Plan commits to a mid-term review as part of its adaptive management approach.
It is clear that climate change is the single biggest threat to reefs worldwide as evidenced by the global coral bleaching event that seriously impacted the Great Barrier Reef over 2016 and 2017. Of the 29 World Heritage coral reef properties, about three-quarters were affected by the severe heat stress causing bleaching.
On 28 July 2017, the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum recognised that in light of the impacts of global coral bleaching and future climate projections, the mid-term review is critical to identify and accelerate priority actions to support the Reef’s health and resilience. The Ministerial Forum agreed to bring forward the immediate commencement of the mid-term review to ensure that the Reef 2050 Plan continues to effectively address the challenges faced by the Reef.
The mid-term review concentrated on the priorities for immediate attention, including identified gaps, while continued focus on implementation is maintained.
Key components of the mid-term review included:
- updating the Plan in light of recent climate events that have impacted the condition of the Reef and encouraging innovative approaches to Reef restoration, protection and management,
- identifying local climate resilience actions for inclusion in existing themes
- reviewing and consolidating existing actions and,
- updating the water quality theme to align with the revised Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
The mid-term review was informed by valuable advice from the Reef 2050 Advisory Committee, Reef 2050 Plan Independent Expert Panel and a consortium of experts from CSIRO, James Cook University, the Australian Institute of Marine Science and Eberhard Consulting.
Key changes following the mid-term review
The revised Plan included a stronger focus on climate change as a key pressure and acknowledged linkages to international efforts and domestic plans and strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, such as the Paris Agreement and the Queensland Climate Transition Strategy. With the exception of aligning water quality targets with the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022, the mid-term Review did not alter the vision, outcomes, objectives or targets of the Plan.
All actions in the original Plan were reviewed and were finalised, updated, recategorised or incorporated in new actions. A comprehensive list of how all actions in the original Plan have been treated is available in the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan - Action Tracker.