A new mechanism to ensure there is an "equal representation of genders” could be in place in time for next year’s council elections, according to a five-year plan for local government.

The gender corrective mechanism - similar to one introduced for parliamentary elections last year - is one of several proposals included in the 'National Strategic Vision for Local Governments'. 

It says that a study on the mechanism will be concluded in time for it to be implemented.  

Introduced in the previous legislature, the gender mechanism was first used in last year’s election, which saw both the government and opposition each have six women co-opted into parliament. It is applied if the least represented gender falls below 40%. 

Without going into any detail, the document highlights that the “necessary modifications” to the mechanism will be made so that it reflects the realities of local government. 

The strategy was announced on Monday by Parliamentary Secretary for Local Governments Alison Zerafa Civelli. 

Zerafa Civelli said the work for the strategy began last year when consultation meetings took place with stakeholders of Regional and Local Councils to discuss their opinions and concerns regarding local governance. 

The strategy, which will cover a seven-year period, is built on five main pillars: 

  • Good and effective governance 
  • Regional resources for local councils 
  • Localities with a cleaner environment 
  • Local Councils closer to people 
  • Digital priorities in local governments 

What does the strategy include?

The strategy includes several promises and proposals to ensure Regional and Local Councils work closely with residents. 

When it comes to resources, the strategy said local councils will be able to receive a percentage from the income of activities that take place in their locality. 

The strategy also announced a revision to the scheme that takes care of the restoration of historic buildings or art collections. 

Regarding a cleaner locality, the strategy is looking into a number of studies for more effective and efficient means of cleaning roads. It also looks into ways of reducing harmful emissions from cars and introducing the use of more electric cars in localities.

“People have become more conscious of having a cleaner environment, and we, as the local government continue to work on this,” Zerafa Civeli said.

The strategy also suggests local council projects where children can provide their opinions and ideas. It also proposes initiatives such as having community policing in more localities and exploring whether community police can work from the local council building. 

The strategy also includes schemes for the digitalisation of local councils such as the introduction of mobile applications. 

Speaking during the conference, local governments minister Owen Bonnici praised the work local councils have carried out throughout the past 30 years. 

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us