20 Jun 2005

French officials to help New Caledonia's reef get on to Unesco list of World Heritage sites

7:08 am on 20 June 2005

A delegation from the French ecology ministry is due to arrive in Noumea today as part of an initiative to include New Caledonia's reef on the list of Unesco world heritage sites.

The AFP news agency says the reef is the world's second biggest, but there is concern it may be damaged by the new nickel mining projects that are expected to come on stream before the end of the decade.

The visit is aimed at helping local authorities with the formal requirements to enlist the reef.

It follows a call by the French president, Jacques Chirac, for work to recognise the reef as a world heritage site.