July 9, 2008

New Caledonia’s Lagoons on UNESCO World Heritage List

New Caledonia's lagoons on UNESCO world heritage list

WELLINGTON, July 8 (Xinhua) -- New Caledonia's lagoons and reef ecosystems have been added to the United Nations Education Science and Culture organization (UNESCO)'s prestigious world heritage list in the natural environment category, the UNESCO confirmed.

The French government officially filed the official bid, on behalf of its South Pacific dependency, in February last year, the Oceania Flash reported on Tuesday.

In its application, entitled "New Caledonia's lagoons and their associated reef and ecosystem diversity," France, on behalf of New Caledonia, was proposing that about 60 percent of the 23,400 square km of coastal reefs of the French Pacific territory be registered on the UN list.

Overall, New Caledonia's bid pertains to six sites covering an area of about 15,700 square km.

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 Beaupr reef.

They were selected for their exceptional character and for being of great interest to the world. The sites are also representative of the unique flora and fauna of this country.

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

World-class environment and biodiversity features include fish and marine mammal species as well as mangrove ecosystems. It is estimated that New Caledonia is home to about 15,000 marine species and about 700 coral types.

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