|Illustration by Hawaii.edu|
"Claims by France to the resources of its Pacific territories violate international law which provides that the natural resources of a territory, including its marine resources, are owned by the people of the territory - not the cosmopole. This has been confirmed in rulings of the International Court of Justice (ICOJ), and in annual United Nations (U.N.) resolutions. Just last December, the General Assembly expressed its deep concern for 'any activities aimed at exploiting the natural and human resources of the Non-Self-Governing Territories to the detriment of the interests of the inhabitants of those Territories.' It should be clearer than ever as to why the French Government fought (unsuccessfully) to prevent the U.N. re-inscription of French Polynesia as a colony - control of the resources of the five million square kilometres of the Pacific Ocean can be a significant deterrent to compliance with the rule of law."
- a Decolonization Expert
The French Economic, Social and Environmental Council has urged the government to secure resources in the seabed off France’s overseas territories.
In a report, the Council says the Law of the Sea allows for France to lay claim to an additional two million square kilometres, half of which are in French Polynesia. It says France would be negligent not to profit from this as French Polynesia has rare earths, whose reserves are held by China in a near monopoly.
The report also points to cobalt off Wallis and Futuna and hydrocarbon deposits near New Caledonia. However, the report says the area is contested by Vanuatu.