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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

29 November 2005

Great Barrier Reef Marine Conservation Project wins United Nations accolade

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has received its second international environmental accolade for the Representative Areas Programme, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, said today.

The GBRMPA was the joint winner of the 2005 Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation from UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere Programme.

Presented at the World Science Forum in Budapest, the prize acknowledges outstanding contributions to environmental management.

Senator Campbell said it was a great honour for Australia to receive commendation for marine conservation.

“The 2005 Sultan Qaboos Prize, and last month’s Gift to the Earth award from the World Wildlife Fund, acknowledges Australia’s leading role in marine conservation,” Senator Campbell said.

“The awards highlight the importance of protecting the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, and recognise the Representative Areas Programme as a comprehensive and innovative global advance in protecting marine biodiversity and conservation.

“The Representative Areas Programme has set an international benchmark, with many international marine experts looking to implement a similar conservation project in their region.”

In announcing the award, UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura praised GBRMPA for its crucial contribution to conserving the Great Barrier Reef.

“Guided by the principle of balancing conservation and sustainable use, the GBRMPA has created an innovative framework that, whilst allowing for reasonable human use, will still ensure the healthy survival of the coastal and marine ecosystems,” Senator Campbell said.

The Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation was made possible through a donation from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al-Said of Oman. GBRMPA shared the honour with Mexico’s Dr Ernesto C. Enkerlin-Hoeflich.

The World Wildlife’s fund highest accolade, the Gift to the Earth award, was presented to GBRMPA at the inaugural International Marine Protected Areas Congress in Geelong last month.

GBRMPA Conservation, Heritage and Indigenous Partnerships Director, Jon Day, will be available for media today (Tuesday 29 November 2005) at 11.00am at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Office, Flinders Street, Townsville.

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434

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