Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan published
Malta’s first National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan has been published by the Tourism Ministry.
The national strategy, which is themed “Working hand-in-hand with Nature”, defines a comprehensive framework for safeguarding Malta’s biodiversity over the period from 2012 to 2020.
Malta’s NBSAP adopts a long term vision and sets out 19 national targets accompanied by action-driven and outcome-oriented measures grouped under thematic areas. It acts as a policy driver to set Malta on the right track to meet its own biodiversity and environmental objectives as identified in the National Environment Policy and the 2020 global and EU targets for biodiversity.
Darrin Stevens, manager for ecosystems management within MEPA, explained that the finalised strategy integrates the input and contributions made by various ministries, agencies and members of the public during the inter-ministerial and public consultation period.
He pointed out that the NBSAP directly addressed the need to preserve biodiversity and ecosystem services by way of strengthening the integration of biodiversity considerations in decision-making as well as policies, plans and programmes of those sectors that act as drivers of biodiversity change.
The targets set out in the strategic document focus on the need to achieve sustainability, ecosystem restoration, biodiversity mainstreaming, climate change mitigation and higher levels of awareness for biodiversity.
Additionally, targets have also been set to reduce habitat loss, overexploitation, pollution, invasive species and promote positive incentives, participatory conservation, protected areas, species protection and adaptation. Finally, targets have also been set for improved access to genetic resources and knowledge, benefit sharing and enhancing capacity.
Tourism and Environment Minister Mario de Marco said that the achievement of the targets by 2020 would necessitate broad ownership of the NBSAP and collective efforts to translate the various measures into action on the ground.
Considering the linkages between biodiversity and other environmental challenges, such as air and water quality, climate change regulation, provision of natural resources and goals of achieving a low-carbon and green economy and sustainable development, the NBSAP would bring mutual benefits to Malta’s environment and that of relevant sectors, as well as to our overall well-being.
Dr de Marco highlighted the various ongoing initiatives and EU funded projects that were already contributing towards the implementation of the NBSAP, such as the Migrate marine conservation project, the management plans that are being drawn up for all terrestrial Natura 2000 sites and awareness raising initiatives.
“Safeguarding Malta’s biodiversity presents many challenges in view of the country’s inherent characteristics as a densely populated small island state. However, I am confident that, we can work together to place Malta on the right track to meet its environmental goals, as well as contribute toward achieving the 2020 global and EU targets for biodiversity,” he said.