Pacific Islands Program – New Caledonia
In the 80’s, New Caledonia encountered very difficult times with deadly conflicts between independantists – mostly Melanesians – and the French-originated community, very much attached to the sovereignty of France over this former French colony. Jean-Marie Tjibaou, originated from Tiendanite – Hienghène valley, led the independent’s movement with clear claims for the recognition of Kanaks’ rights, a high sense of dialogue and respect, whoever the opponent could be and an immense sense of partnership without excluding anyone.
This attitude prevented the country to fall in a major conflict and still remain nowadays. When Conservation International first funded scientific investigations in the mid-1990 and then send staff in Hienghène region in the early 2000’s, we have experienced some welcome from the Melanesian community, open to listen to new ideas.
IN DEPTH: Learn more about CI's work with the Kanak tribes in New Caledonia.
|Henri Blaffart with CI staff in New Caledonia.|
With this history of violence and the complexity of the kanak customary system for outsiders, CI staff has experienced and integrated the crucial need for time for developing projects. Especially important has been the approach of raising awareness in a participative manner and experimenting practical conservation actions at small scale level with prime quality and personally dedicated staff member, late Henri Blaffart
After all these years, we can clearly identify these aspects as key factors for the success of the Mont Panié conservation project, which is now entering a new stage, much more ambitious and demonstrative for the whole New Caledonian hotspot and the entire Melanesian world.
LEARN MORE: Read more scientists' accounts of working in conflict areas.