The Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) provides an overarching strategy for managing and protecting the Great Barrier Reef. A key foundational component of the Reef 2050 Plan is implementation of the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program (RIMReP, or the Program).
Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program
RIMReP will provide a comprehensive and up-to-date ecological, social and cultural understanding of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Program’s primary purpose is to drive resilience-based management and track progress against the objectives and goals outlined in the Reef 2050 Plan. Resilience-based management builds on foundational management programs and places a strong emphasis on using the best available information and forecasting tools to adjust management actions to improve Reef health and recovery.
Reef Knowledge System
A centrepiece of the Program is the interactive online Reef Knowledge System – the ‘first stop shop’ for up to date information about the Reef to guide effective management decisions in a rapidly changing world.
RIMReP is a joint partnership involving Australian and Queensland government entities together with Traditional Owners. It is primarily funded through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Reef Trust Partnership and significant in-kind contributions from each partner.
Monitoring gaps and ongoing improvement
Maintaining core, long term monitoring programs and identifying emerging gaps which underpin the Reef 2050 Plan is critical to success of the Program. RIMReP partners will focus on sharing information and knowledge and drive interoperability across monitoring programs to support decision making and reporting to deliver real outcomes for the Reef. This will require an adaptive approach and identification of emerging knowledge gaps and technologies.
Currently, 12 monitoring and modelling programs operating in Australian waters (and the adjacent catchment) are fundamental to RIMReP. As new needs are identified, priorities may change and as new data streams become available these will be updated. Linkages and alignment to the Paddock to Reef Program, will continue to be explored over the next five years.
The Program Today
RIMReP design was completed in 2019 and is now being implemented through Annual Operating Plans. Seven priority areas will guide the ongoing operation and continuous improvement of RIMReP.
RIMREP is governed by an Executive Group and an Operations Group, with membership from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Integrated Marine Observing System, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Queensland Department of Environment and Science, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and Traditional Owner members. A Statement of Collaboration outlines how the partnership operates.
Support through the Reef Trust Partnership (RTP) is filling critical monitoring gaps identified during the Program design phase. Work has commenced on the Program’s Data Management System that will provide access to priority data sources through a federated system and support interoperability.
Traditional Owner Engagement
The Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is both a natural and cultural landscape. Its Traditional Owners are the first custodians of land and sea and have been using traditional Indigenous science and monitoring methods for tens of thousands of years. Traditional Owner membership of the Executive and Operations Groups forms part of RIMReP’s Governance, providing advice on Traditional Owner involvement, perspectives and advising on how to incorporate Traditional Owner knowledge and ensure effective integration of programs such as the Strong peoples – Strong country framework . The Strong peoples – Strong country is an Indigenous heritage and Cultural Wellbeing framework connecting the health of the Reef and its catchment to the quality of life enjoyed by Traditional Owners (learn more).
It provides a Traditional Owner led approach for systematic monitoring of the condition of the Reef and its catchments as an Indigenous heritage asset. It reflects the Traditional Owner worldview that their quality of life is connected inseparably to and underpinned by, their Land and Sea Country. This monitoring framework aims to define Indigenous Heritage objectives, so that the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan can measure progress against these.
Critical to the success of achieving the RIMReP vision is the effective and meaningful engagement with Reef Traditional Owners, sharing knowledge and skills in a mutually beneficial and culturally appropriate way.