New Caledonia (French: officially: Nouvelle-Calédonie; colloquially: (la) Calédonie; popular nicknames: (la) Kanaky, (le) Caillou), is a “sui generis collectivity” of France located in the region of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific. It comprises a main island (Grande Terre), the Loyalty Islands, and several smaller islands. Approximately half the size of Taiwan, it has a land area of 18,575.5 square kilometres (7,172 sq mi). The population was estimated in January 2008 to be 244,410. The capital and largest city of the territory is Nouméa. The currency is the CFP franc.
Since 1986 the United Nations Committee on Decolonization has included New Caledonia on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories. New Caledonia is set to decide whether to remain within the French Republic or become an independent state in a referendum to be held between 2014 and 2019.
Nouméa, the capital, is also the seat of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (formerly the South Pacific Commission), an international organization.