Malta is one of the top three EU member states failing to enforce biodiversity legislation, according to a new report by BirdLife International.

The report, entitled ‘2010-Turning or Breaking Point for Europe’s Wildlife?’, analyses the progresses towards the 2010 biodiversity target against 10 major groups of indicators.

BirdLife Malta aid that Malta’s performance was only adequate in the transposition of international legislation into national law, but the country failed to reach adequate standards when it came to implementation and enforcement.

In 11 categories out of 18, Malta’s performance was evaluated as ‘highly insufficient’. These included the status of species and habitats of EC importance, enforcement of biodiversity legislation, management plans and conservation status of protected areas and public awareness.

In six categories, Malta’s performance was deemed ‘inadequate’. These included the status of birds, biodiversity research and monitoring and environmental governance.

“Lack of effective law enforcement remains a major issue, with widespread illegal hunting activities taking their toll on both resident and migratory avifauna.” said Joseph Mangion, President of BirdLife Malta. “Furthermore, the institution seems slow in setting in motion an effective holistic strategy to improve the state of biodiversity in our islands”

The findings, BirdLife said, are in line with the most recent State of the Environment Report published by MEPA, which states that 64 per cent of habitats and 44 per cent of species listed in the Habitats Directive have an inadequate or bad conservation status, while the status of 29 per cent of Maltese habitats and 36 per cent of Maltese species is still unknown.

BirdLife International denounced the EU’s failure to reach its target of halting biodiversity loss by 2010 and listed the necessary steps needed to stop the loss of biodiversity and to enhance its recovery in the EU.

Ariel Brunner, Head of EU Policy at BirdLife International European Division, said: “The EU has failed to achieve the 2010 target and is still a long way off from preventing further loss of wildlife and habitats. The picture emerging from our assessment is one of continuing impoverishment of biodiversity and inadequate responses. BirdLife International spotlights the need for the EU to show leadership by setting itself real and binding future targets ahead of the next conference of the Convention of Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, this October”, concluded Mr Brunner.

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