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EditPhoto Title:New Caledonia: Home of the World’s Largest Marine Park
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EditImage Description:A fisherman paddles their boat
EditPhoto Credit:© Conservation International/photo by Lily Clarke
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A French territory located 1,210 kilometers (750 miles) east of Australia, New Caledonia is internationally renowned for its exceptional natural beauty, rich biodiversity and remarkable coral reefs.


The Natural Park of the Coral Sea protects 1.3 million square kilometers (501,930 square miles) of marine ecosystems essential to the southwest Pacific islands’ people, biodiversity and climate resilience.

A sanctuary for sharks, whales and turtles, New Caledonia is famously home to the world’s third-largest population of dugong, the last-remaining marine mammal that strictly eats plants. In addition, New Caledonia boasts one of the world’s largest lagoons at 24,000 square kilometers (over 9,000 square miles), circled by the longest coral reef at 1,600 kilometers (618 miles). For local people, the lagoon provides their daily fish and coastal protection, and is vital to their unique traditions, many of which date back thousands of years.

Overall, New Caledonia’s quarter of a million people depend on healthy ecosystems for their fresh water, food and livelihoods — especially since the territory’s main source of income, nickel mining, will run out one day. Ecotourism and improved management of its marine resources could provide alternative economic sources



Our role

Conservation International has had a presence in New Caledonia since 1996, working at all levels to develop and implement integrated, sustainable solutions on land and at sea that seek to benefit the natural environment as well as the people and economy of New Caledonia.

Through our research and ongoing collaboration with communities, local organizations, the government and other partners in the Pacific region, we are gathering information on the perspectives and various priorities for consideration in the park’s marine management plan. CI experts in New Caledonia and the region will help the government shape the park’s spatial planning and management plan, fund key scientific research to inform that plan and integrate New Caledonia’s contributions within the Pacific Oceanscape and Big Ocean Network.

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EditSection title:Our plan
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EditItem Title:Local engagement, large-scale results
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EditItem Text:CI is working with communities and local governments to protect key sites and create protected areas and networks. We aim to develop a community-based management model that incorporates local rules and uses, supported by science and modern management tools, as well as economic, educational and cultural components to ensure that all needs are represented.
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EditItem Title:Ridge to reef approach
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EditItem Text:In the Northern Province, CI is facilitating the establishment of larger integrated protected areas, many of which span from land to sea. By ensuring healthy terrestrial and marine ecosystems, we can avoid many harmful downstream effects to the ocean from upstream actions — such as increased sedimentation caused by rapid deforestation. Under this terrestrial-marine “ridge to reef” approach, CI aims to conserve the ecosystem using a holistic approach. In Mount Panie, for example, we are working upstream to conserve the forest and reduce sediment flows downstream and into the lagoon. The lagoon is critically important to local people because of its artisanal fishing, natural products, ecotourism opportunities and coastal protection role.
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EditItem Title:World Heritage Site management
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EditItem Text:In Loyalty Island Province, CI is working with provincial and customary authorities, resource owners and users, helping to identify effective management strategies for Ouvea as a World Heritage Site using a community-based approach. We are helping the province in the design and setup of Ouvea’s governance structure that includes chiefs, tribal representatives and other stakeholders to ensure proper planning and implementation of the management plan over time. CI is also part of the management committee of the Entrecasteaux Atoll World Heritage Site cluster, recognized in 2013 as a 2,000-square-kilometer no-take zone and a fully protected marine reserve. To help support interprovincial coordination and consistent management, CI is represented on the board of the New Caledonia Natural Areas Conservatory.
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EditItem Title:Policy and research
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EditItem Text:At the national scale CI is working with partners and government agencies to develop policies that support the sustainable use of marine resources. We are strengthening the analysis of New Caledonia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) to support the design of the Natural Park. CI is advising the government on how their Marine Park can reach international standards. This includes building governance around cruisers and yachting tourism, fisheries and deep sea mining, and providing expertise and recommendations for marine spatial planning. As part of this effort, the government passed laws in April 2013 that provide for the full protection of sharks within New Caledonia’s EEZ. Additionally, CI is contributing to the research and analysis of terrestrial ecosystems of remote oceanic islands and islets within New Caledonia’s waters to inform the new protected area management plan.
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EditItem Title:Aligning with other Pacific island states
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EditItem Text:On a regional scale, CI supports New Caledonia in its various commitments to the Pacific Oceanscape. The development and implementation of the Natural Park of the Coral Sea is the first contribution to the Pacific Oceanscape by a Melanesian country or a French overseas territory. We are also supporting New Caledonia’s engagement with the Australian Government in efforts to coordinate their efforts to sustainably manage their portions of the Coral Sea. This international initiative, once implemented, will be a unique achievement and will be shared with other Pacific island states that face similar challenges. CI has also supported the formation of a bilateral sister site agreement between New Caledonia and the Cook Islands to share lessons learned from the development of their respective marine protected areas. Finally, CI has facilitated the integration of New Caledonia as member of the Big Ocean, a network of the World’s Large-Scale Marine Managed Areas.
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EditImage Alt Text:Coral in New Caledonia
EditTitle:By the numbers
EditSubtitle:1.3 million square kilometers
EditText:CI will continue to support New Caledonia in the management of its multiple-use marine protected area, which covers 1.3 million square kilometers (501,930 square miles) of essential ecosystems.
EditPhoto Credit:© Photo Rodolphe Holler
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    More of Our Work Links

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    EditTitle:GREEN Program in New Caledonia
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    EditImage Alt Text:View from Mt panie, New Caledonia. © Conservation International/photo by François Tron
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    EditTitle:Pacific Oceanscape
    EditImage:/SiteCollectionImages/ci_63002536.jpg
    EditLink:/where/Pages/pacific-oceanscape.aspx
    EditImage Alt Text:Aerial view, Bora Bora. © Rodolphe Holler
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    EditTitle:The Ocean
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    EditImage Alt Text:Coral reef in Viti Levu, Fiji, Oceania. © William Crosse
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