Australia fought for a year to duck a global black eye.
On the first day of July it succeeded, when a global conservation agency opted not to place the Great Barrier Reef on an international 'in danger' list of dozens of important cultural and environmental sites that are threatened with destruction.
Instead, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee agreed to the country's plan for saving the Great Barrier Reef. Among other measures, Australia says it will slash 80 percent of polluting runoff from farms and coastal development into the reef's waters by 2025.
Pollution is a major factor in the Great Barrier Reef's decline—around half the 1,200-mile-long reef's corals have died in the past 30 years—and so are increasingly warmer and more acidic ocean waters.
Burning coal for energy is the main cause of both these problems. But so far, Australia has not backed off its intention to open six new coal mines, and ship the coal through a coal terminal not far from the reef.
Australia will deliver the first progress report on its Great Barrier Reef restoration plan to UNESCO in late 2016.
Take a look at some of the threats to the existence of the Great Barrier Reef, along with beautiful views that explain why millions of tourists visit it every year.