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France bids for New Caledonia's lagoons on UNESCO world heritage list

Published by MAC on 2007-00-15

France bids for New Caledonia's lagoons on UNESCO world heritage list

Pacific News Service


The French government has filed a bid with the United Nations Education Science and Culture organisation (UNESCO) to have New Caledonia enlisted for its unique lagoons and reefs.

New Caledonia's lagoons and reef ecosystems are believed to be the world's second largest, just after the Australian Great Barrier Reef, already on UNESCO's World Heritage List.

In its application, entitled "New Caledonia's lagoons and their associated reef and ecosystem diversity, France, on behalf of New Caledonia, proposed the registration of about 60 percent of the 23,400 square kilometres of coastal reefs on the UN list.

Oceania Flash reports New Caledonia's bid pertains to six sites covering an area of about 15,700 square kilometres.

These include the grand Southern Lake, the region of Foa-Bourail, the coastal region of North East, the grand Northern Lake, the Entrecasteaux Reef and Ouvea ­ Beautemps Beaupré reef.

They were selected for their exceptional character. The sites are also representative of the unique flora and fauna of this French Pacific overseas country.

The New Caledonian Reef has a unique biodiversity of which only 20 percent is known.

This however excludes areas close to the capital Nouméa, as well as some part of the South of the main island, where a world-class nickel mining project is currently under construction.

UNESCO's World Heritage Committee is scheduled to convene late June in Christchurch, New Zealand to look at around forty applications..


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