Defining the aesthetic values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area February 2013

Context Pty Ltd, 2013

About this report

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities commissioned Context Pty Ltd to identify the aesthetic values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (criterion vii of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention) and assess the sensitivity of those values to a range of impacts.

This report forms one part of the department's program of work to better understand and articulate the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area so that it can be better protected.

At present, there is no clear methodology recommended by the IUCN to identify aesthetic values under criterion vii. The consultants developed a methodology drawing on existing heritage practice within Australia and internationally, and applied it, using a wide variety of data sources. The consultants found that the attributes underpinning the aesthetic values of the property include environmental attributes identified under the other criteria for which the property was listed. The consultants also identified experiential attributes, and a range of qualities that enhance the aesthetic values of the property. A case study was developed as an illustration of how the methodology can be applied, including an analysis of the sensitivity of aesthetic values to a range of threats. This work provides an initial discussion on the distinctive lens for considering impacts of development or other actions on aesthetics.

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