For the first time, the Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems brought together all the local communities actively involved in the management of this exceptional marine World Heritage site from 5 to 6 July. The local management committees are unique in their endeavor to include the local population in the management of the lagoons in a very comprehensive organizational structure. Today, 13 management committees are set up across New Caledonia and provide day-to-day advice to the provinces that are responsible for the decision making. Since 2011, the organization ‘Conservatory of Natural Areas’ coordinates these independent committees and serves as a focal point for all matters related to World Heritage.
Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems is a serial site that comprises six marine clusters representing the main diversity of coral reefs and associated ecosystems in the French Pacific Ocean archipelago of New Caledonia and one of the three most extensive reef systems in the world. Setting up this comprehensive structure of participatory management is one of the key outcomes of the designation of the Lagoons of New Caledonia as a World Heritage site in 2008. It is an inspiring example of how World Heritage status underpins a focused, results-based management structure that is capable of ensuring good conservation while strengthening the sites’ traditional practices.