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Noumea Agreement

Nov 29 2022

The Noumea Agreement and Its Importance for New Caledonia

In 1998, the Noumea Agreement was signed in Noumea, the capital of New Caledonia, a French overseas territory in the Pacific Ocean. This agreement, also known as the Noumea Accord, aimed to strengthen the political stability of New Caledonia and provide a pathway for its self-determination.

The Noumea Agreement recognized the unique status of New Caledonia, its Kanak and European communities, and their historical relationship with France. It established a process for the gradual transfer of powers from France to the local government, which would lead to a referendum on independence.

The Agreement created three levels of governance in New Caledonia: the French State, the New Caledonian Government, and the Province Governments. The New Caledonian Congress, comprised of elected representatives from each province, was granted legislative powers over a range of fields, including education, culture, and land management.

The Noumea Agreement also addressed the issue of indigenous land rights, which had been a source of conflict between the Kanak people and European settlers. It recognized the special relationship that the Kanak people have with their land, and established a land commission to review land ownership and use.

The Agreement also promoted the use of Kanak languages in education and public administration, and recognized the need for affirmative action measures to address the socio-economic disparities between the Kanak and European communities.

The Noumea Agreement was a significant step towards resolving the political and social tensions in New Caledonia. The referendum on independence, which was originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will determine whether New Caledonia becomes an independent nation or remains a French territory.

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