Environmental organisations would like to see environmental protection, guardianship and the environmental rights of future generations enshrined in Malta's constitution.
This is one of nine “key environmental demands” several NGOs are putting to election candidates and political parties in view of the forthcoming election.
Six eNGOs put out the requests, with a number of other NGOs endorsing them.
The demands relate to:
Entrench environmental protection, guardianship and the environmental rights of future generations into the constitution. This will allow people to challenge the state or any public or private entity in any action threatening this clause.
Prioritise the climate crisis as the greatest threat to humankind and the planet. Immediately halt investments in fossil fuel infrastructure and invest in renewable energy sources to achieve the EU 2030 target of 30% and create a fossil-fuel-free vision for Malta, including a plan for clean energy transition.
Prioritise public and active transport modes, through investment in direct, frequent and reliable public transport connections and safe, direct and connected infrastructure for walking and cycling.
Set up pedestrian areas in village and town centres. The priority should be to reduce the number of cars and car journeys focusing on the transition to electric vehicles.
Reform the Planning Authority board to ensure political independence and seek representation based on competence.
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and Environmental and Resources Authority should be given veto power in PA application decisions. A number of policies needed to be revised urgently for townscapes and rural areas to be protected better.
Conclude and publish the 2020 draft rural policy and design guidance, which has been in limbo since August 2020.
Protect public right of way on footpaths that have been open historically while respecting the rights of land owners or tenants.
Create a database and map with information on land ownership and publicly accessible roads and footpaths.
Include the already proposed public domain sites which have not been granted protection so far.
Habitat and biodiversity
Increase the proportion of land enjoying full environmental protection and extend the footprint of existing nature reserves. Establish establishing new areas for full nature conservation.
Strengthen the legal basis for nature protection by ensuring that the ERA has full legal oversight on all environmental legislation and international obligations, including bird protection.
Holistically and immediately address the spread of alien species before they destroy indigenous and endemic species and habitats.
Acknowledge that Malta’s largest habitat is the sea. Protect the marine environment from overfishing and illegal fishing activities, anchoring and dumping.
Prioritise the impacts and consequences to the marine habitat and its biodiversity in any marine-based infrastructure and land reclamation projects. Safeguard marine habitats and resources by promoting sustainable use and regulation.
This should include regulating and controlling the impacts from maritime vessels on air and water including through the setting up of the Mediterranean basin as an emission control area for cruise ships.
Agriculture and food systems
Support food independence by creating mechanisms to ensure that farmers are not evicted from their lands.
Create a framework that guarantees that agricultural land, including all government-owned land, is used only for agricultural purposes. Increase agro-ecological farming practices, targeting for a fourth of agricultural land to become organic by 2030.
Reduce the use of synthetic pesticides by 80% by 2030.
Tackle food waste. Make the necessary legislative changes and create incentives for supermarkets and food importers and distributors to minimise food waste and channel food that would end up in the waste stream to food banks.
Implement an obligatory waste separation regime for domestic and commercial waste, as well as a strategy to minimise waste packaging. Strengthened enforcement of existing rules.
Create mechanisms that encourage a cut-back of construction and development waste at source. Incentives should be provided to the construction industry to reuse old stone. Make provisions for recycling and reusing other construction materials through the use of a central storage facility.
The demands were put together by BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Nature Trust-FEE Malta and the Ramblers Association of Malta. They are also endorsed by Extinction Rebellion Malta, Għawdix, Moviment Graffitti, Rota, The 'Grow 10 Trees' Project, Wirt Għawdex, Żminijietna - Voice of the Left.