New Caledonia

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Environmental Crime Legal Framework in New Caledonia

New Caledonia is a ‘territorial collectivity’ (collectivité territoriale) within the Republic of France, with its own territorial government, congress and provincial assemblies. The provincial assemblies –for South Province, North Province and Loyalty Islands Province – are popularly elected, and each assembly has a president elected by its members. The Territorial Congress is made up of a proportion of assembly members from each province. The members of the Congress elect the members of the Territorial Government, who designate their President and Vice-President. TheGovernment is the territory’s executive body, and may propose laws for adoption by the Congress.The Senat Coutumier, an advisory body comprised of sixteen customary Kanak chiefs, must be consulted on issues related to Kanak identity, including customary land tenure

Initially, the provinces were considered by many to have exclusive jurisdiction over environmental matters, as the organic law does not expressly vest broad powers for environmental protection in the State or the territory. However, it is now recognised that jurisdiction in relation to environmental matters is shared between the different levels of government.

Featured Legislation

1990: A deliberation of the assembly of the southern province (n° 89-90/APS of July 11) was reached, fixing the conditions for the exploitation of certain woods and forests in the southern province. This deliberation sets the conditions for the exploitation of certain woods and forests in the South Province. To ensure both the protection, conservation and rational exploitation of the woods and forests referred to in Article 1, any felling is subject to authorization by the President of the South Province.

2000: The Biodiversity Strategy was unveiled. The Government of New Zealand has developed this to fulfill the commitments made under the Convention of Biological Diversity. The purpose of this nation-wide sectoral document is to establish a strategic framework for action to conserve, use and manage the indigenous biodiversity. However, it also addresses the genetic resources of the introduced species, as stated by the statement that explains the Vision.

2008: The North Province assembly adopted the Code de l’environnement de la Province nord on 24 October 2008.8 It came into force on 30 December 2008. The Code de l’environnement de la Provincesud was adopted by the assembly of South Province on 20 March 2009  and came into force on 10 April 2009. The structure of the two codes is very similar, as it was developed jointly by the provinces, but there are significant differences in their substantive provisions. Both codes are broad in their scope, covering a range of environmental issues within the jurisdiction of the provinces, including nature conservation, natural resource management and prevention of pollution and environmental harm.

2010: The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement (NZCPS) was adopted. It is a national policy statement under the Resource Management Act 1991. The purpose of the NZCPS is to state policies in order to achieve the purpose of the Act in relation to the coastal environment of New Zealand. The coastal environment has characteristics, qualities and uses that mean there are particular challenges in promoting sustainable management: the coastal environment varies in nature and extent around the country; coastal environment contains established infrastructure, such as ports, airports, railways, roads and submarine cables; natural and physical resources important to the economic and social wellbeing of the nation and communities; the natural and recreational attributes of the coast and its attraction as a place to live and visit combine with a growing pressure on coastal space and other resources; activities inland can have a major impact on coastal water quality; activities in the coastal environment are susceptible to the effects of natural hazards and those associated with climate change; there is continuing and growing demand for coastal space and resources for commercial activities as diverse as aquaculture and sand mining; and the coast has particular importance to tangata whenua, including as kaitiaki.

2014: New Caledonia’s government announced its intention to create a marine management area, known as the Natural Park of the Coral Sea, that covers the territory’s entire exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The designation of a highly protected, large marine protected area (MPA) within the nearly 1.3 million-square-kilometer (502,000-square-mile) park would provide long-term protections for the region’s marine habitats.

2018: The government moved to protect five of New Caledonia’s most intact and remote reefs in fully protected MPAs covering 28,000 square kilometers (10,800 square miles). That year, the government also committed to protecting 200,000 to 400,000 square kilometers (154,400 square miles) by the end of 2019 by establishing an MPA within the park that includes highly protected areas. The park’s management committee continues to develop an action plan to define what zones are protected and how they would be used.

Featured Case Studies: Transnational Environmental Crime, Human Security, and Biosecurity

  • Political leaders in New Caledonia have agreed new terms for the sale of the Brazilian-owned Goro nickel mine. The deal gives a majority stakeholding to state entities; this comes in the wake of recent protests over Tesla becoming a business partner. The deal, signed by pro-independence and loyalist leaders in the French Pacific territory on Thursday, also cited a “technical and industrial partnership” with electric car maker Tesla, which needs to secure supply of nickel for its batteries. New Caledonia is one of the largest nickel producers in the world and the Goro mine and processing plant is owned by Brazilian miner Vale. The parties also called for reinforced environmental standards and set a target for the mining complex to be carbon neutral by 2040. Tesla will not have a stake in the mine’s equity, but will act as an industrial partner to help with production and sustainability standards, as well as taking some supply for its battery division, according to the political agreement. Demand for nickel, mainly for producing stainless steel, is expected to be boosted by demand for electric vehicle batteries. The most powerful lithium-ion batteries require nickel. With New Caledonia being the world’s fourth-largest nickel producer, environmental activists question how sustaining the mining operations will be, raising questions about environmental and human security.

References and Further Reading

Contacts

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Programme: sprep@sprep.org