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Presentation of New Caledonia

Member state: France
Surface area (km2): 18 576
(ZEE = 1.4 million km²)
Population: 245 580
(Census 2009)
Density (/km2): 13.2
Capital: Nouméa


Archipelago located in the South Pacific, north of the Tropic of Capricorn, 1,500 kilometers east of Australia and 1,800 km north of New Zealand.


The New Caledonian archipelago mainly consists of Grande-Terre (16,374 km²) oriented along a northwest-southeast axis, the Pine Island (150 km²) in the South; the Belep archipelago (70 km²) in the Northwest and the Loyalty Islands (Lifou, Mare, Ouvea and Tiga) covering 1,981 km in the East. Grande-Terre is characterized by a central chain which rises to 1,629 meters with rounded peaks and steep-sided slopes, separating two asymmetric sides, the eastern slope being more steep. The Loyalty Islands, with a low and flat relief, are old, unevenly raised coral atolls.


Tropical with a warm and wet period (November-March) and a cool period (June to August). The climate is moderated by a flow of trade winds. Annual temperatures vary on average from 22 to 25 ° C. Humidity ranges between 73% and 81%.

Economic activities

The country’s main economic activities are nickel mining and metallurgy (with two metallurgical plants of a worldwide scale which are under construction and one in operation), services, tourism, fisheries and aquaculture of shrimp, as well as a local industry, including in the area of agri-foodstuff.

Political and administrative status

New Caledonia has a special “sui generis” status as defined by Title XIII of the French Constitution (“transitional provisions relating to New Caledonia”), which provides for an organization adapted to its own identity constituting an original model, invented to define a shared sovereignty with France. The organization of New Caledonia is laid down in Organic Law No 99-209 of 19 March 1999, arising from the Noumea Accord. Its citizens are French citizens.


New Caledonia is home to the University of New Caledonia which has three departments: “Law, Economics and Management”, “Science and techniques”, “Literature, Languages and Humanities”.
There is also a School of Management and Commerce with already 352 graduates. Furthermore, many research institutes such as the IRD, IFREMER, Institut Pasteur, the IAC are active in various fields, such as the environment, climate change and
natural hazards, health, agriculture, marine geosciences, etc.
New Caledonia is also home to the office of the OCTs under the authority of the Delegation of the European Commission in Fiji and CPS headquarters, an international organization having 26 members with about 200 employees based in Noumea.


A land of contrasts, New Caledonia, seeks to reconcile the exploitation of its mineral resources with the protection of its unique biodiversity. In the context of sustainable development, the "mineral resources development scheme", adopted in March 18, 2009, provides tools to ensure respect for the environment: the National Center for Research and Technology (CNRT) on nickel, a Charter of good mining practices, and the Mining Code. The scheme also makes specific recommendations for the rehabilitation of degraded areas. In conjunction with the provincial environmental codes (2009 in Northern Province and 2010 in Southern Province), it is also proposed to further develop a network of protected areas, and to impose "good operating practices" in mining areas located close to the reef sites. Indeed, special attention is paid to the New Caledonian lagoon a great part of which was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2008.

Thus, New Caledonia has now tools to ensure the smooth and sustainable inclusion of its mining activities in a unique natural context to ensure the welfare of future generations. The environmental issue is particularly important in the Pacific, where the island states are highly vulnerable to climate change and face many challenges, particularly with regard to energy management and prevention of disaster risks.