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Statement on the Question of New Caledonia

New York
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished delegates,

I have the honour to introduce the draft Resolution as contained in document A/AC.109/2012/L.12 of 19 June 2012, on the Question of New Caledonia, on behalf of the two co-sponsors, Papua New Guinea and my own country, Fiji.  

Mr. Chairman, Fiji currently holds the chairmanship of the Melanesian Spearhead Group (MSG), a sub-regional organisation formed in the 1988. One of the MSG’s key goals has been to support the Kanak people of New Caledonia in their efforts towards self-determination. There have been significant steps taken in the intervening years, none more so than the signature of the Noumea Accord in 1998.

The MSG Secretariat and the Permanent Missions of the MSG States are mandated by their Leaders to monitor political developments and implementation of the Noumea Accord in support of the Kanak people’s wish for self-determination in this committee. To this end, the MSG conducts visits to New Caledonia at both the officials and Ministerial level, and updates in this regard are reflected in the changes to o.p. 21 and 22. There is one minor technical correction to o.p 20 which has just been brought to our attention – namely that the 2nd MSG High Level/Ministerial Mission will be from 1-6 July 2012 and not from 2-9 July 2012, and we would be grateful if this technical correction could be reflected in the final resolution.

Over the last year, the MSG Secretariat has also concluded an exchange of letters with the UN Secretariat that allows the latter to use the findings of the monitoring and assessment exercises conducted by the MSG Ministers in preparation of the working paper on New Caledonia assembled by the Secretariat. This initiative is welcomed in a new preambular paragraph at the end of the preambular section of this draft resolution, signaling this new collaboration between the two Secretariats.

With regard to the progressive transfer of powers envisaged under the Noumea Accord, the agreements signed to effect the transfer of powers relating to secondary education are reflected in new o.p. 12. The progress in the work of the follow-up committee overseeing the progress of the Noumea Accord is reflected in o.p. 4 and 5.

A welcome update is also reflected in o.p 7, where the symbolically important step has been taken by all parties to use both the French and Kanak flag, as well as the new anthem, in New Caledonia. The efforts of all parties in arriving at this decision are to be applauded.

The integration of New Caledonia into the region has also seen some positive steps, as reflected in o.p 30 and 31 with regard to the hosting by New Caledonia of the Pacific Games in 2011, and the hosting by the FLNKS of the 4th MSG Melanesian Arts Festival in late 2010.

Mr. Chairman, these positive developments do not detract from the fact that there is much to be achieved. New o.p. 11 therefore mentions the observations and recommendations by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people relating to efforts to advance the rights of the Kanak people in the context of the Noumea Accord. The final recommendations of this resolution remain, as in the past, that the Special Committee keep under continuous review the process unfolding in New Caledonia arising from the Noumea Accord, that we continue to examine the question of the non-self-governing territory of New Caledonia, and that we report thereon to the General Assembly.

In concluding, I must thank all parties involved for their close and positive engagement on the issue of New Caledonia, and in so doing, my delegation is pleased to commend the draft resolution on the Question of New Caledonia as contained in document A/AC.109/2012/L.12 to the Committee with the technical correction in o.p 20 that I referred to earlier, and urge that the Committee adopts it by consensus.  

Mr. Chairman, distinguished delegates,  

I thank you for your attention.










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