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Land reform, conflict and local development on “Grande Terre”

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Publication date13/04/2024
Host publicationGeographies of New Caledonia-Kanaky: Environments, politics and cultures
EditorsMatthias Kowasch, Simon Batterbury
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages14
ISBN (electronic)9783031491405
ISBN (print)9783031491399, 9783031491429
<mark>Original language</mark>English


New Caledonia-Kanaky has operated customary and European models of land tenure in parallel for almost 170 years, since the early days of colonisation when francophone governance was imposed to enable settlement, and Kanak populations on prime agricultural were forcibly displaced onto “reserves”. This “historic dualism” has been at the heart of lengthy political discussion and the demands of the Kanak independence movement to reclaim its land and sovereignty. While debates about the development of customary land continue in times of political uncertainty, since the late 1970s re-allocation of land to Kanak clans by the state, latterly through the Agence de développement rural et d’aménagement foncier (ADRAF), has been substantial. We assess this process, offering two examples from the Northern Province where land conflicts remain and where “modern” development has taken place on customary land now controlled by clans, under their stewardship. This partial integration into the market economy has addressed many, but not all, of the problems of “historic dualism”.