In July 2008, New Caledonia’s lagoons were added to the prestigious Unesco World Heritage List. The French government officially filed the official bid, on behalf of New Caledonia, in January 2007 and the New Caledonian people were overjoyed when the listing was finally announced. This marks the culmination of several years of joint efforts by the Provinces, New Caledonia and the French Government to get this natural environment of outstanding beauty and biodiversity added to the World Heritage List, thereby ensuring its future protection and conservation.
The Lagoons of New Caledonia: Reef Diversity and Associated Ecosystems comprise six marine clusters covering 1,574,000 ha and representing the main diversity of New Caledonia’s coral reefs and associated ecosystems, ranging from mangrove to barrier reef and forming one of the three most extensive reef systems in the world. The six marine clusters included in the serial property are the Entrecasteaux reefs, the Great Northern Lagoon, the North-Eastern and the Western coastal areas, the Ouvea atoll and Beautemps-Beaupré area and the Great Southern Lagoon. Unesco was impressed not only by the great diversity of coral species, beauty and complexity of the reef systems but also by the outstanding variety of plant and wildlife species they shelter.
The various ecosystems are exceedingly well preserved and provide sanctuary for 9,372 identified species, like the rare, endemic and symbolic species featured in this stamp booklet. Private citizens, customary authorities, elected representatives at national, provincial and municipal level, private businesses… we all have a duty to work towards ensuring the future protection and conservation of this priceless natural heirloom.