President George Vella’s initiative to focus on the State of the Nation is commendable.
It will be held again next month. I hope that it is sustained by his successors. We cannot strengthen our nation without a deep understanding of our values and identity.
The first survey (professionally conducted by Vincent Marmarà and Lou Bondì) was discussed in last year’s conference. It focused on the state of the nation while outlining the different aspects of Maltese society that impact our core values, opinion and perspectives. The findings shows that family life still plays an important role in Maltese society; a majority of 93.5 per cent believe in God albeit not giving the same importance to religion; politics has a central role in shaping opinion with 83 per cent of the population having always voted for the same political party; the majority of Maltese are not in favour of multiculturalism, with just nine per cent saying they are comfortable with it, while people with a higher level of education, as well as young people, feel more comfortable with different cultures.
Future generations will, undoubtedly, be affected by decisions we make today. Analysing the State of our Nation should enable us to understand what is currently at stake and how to address tomorrow’s challenges.
Strengthening our identity for the benefit of future generations, preserving our cultural heritage, the vision and leadership offered by our political parties, the eradication of poverty and how will today’s decisions on planning, the environment and climate change impact the health and quality of life of future generations are just a few of the themes which are relevant today and more so tomorrow.
Do we want to be good ancestors?- Alessia Psaila Zammit
We have come a long way together. Resilience proved key in overcoming the many challenges along the way. The latest challenge was and, to a certain extent still is, COVID-I9. Worldwide, lives and jobs have been lost, businesses went bust, yet, despite the devastation that it brought Malta managed, quite successfully, to weather the storm.
Resilience, amply demonstrated by our people and businesses, and measures taken to protect our health and safeguard jobs proved successful. But, soon, the next challenge, yet again on an international level, emerged. Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.
Once again, world markets were in turmoil. World order is frail and can never be taken for granted. Together we must face the challenges created by this war in Europe which shall have a profound effect on present and future generations.
And, as we face these mammoth challenges, other challenges remain and become more complex. The state of our environment is one of them. The focus, as explained by the president at the start of this new legislature, reflecting the government’s vision, of course, is on the environment.
We have no choice but to undergo radical changes in this sector if we want a healthier, greener and safer Malta for this and future generations.
On an international level, Malta has been at the forefront of initiatives that have at their core the well-being of future generations. The concept of the common heritage of mankind proposed by Malta’s first Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Arvid Pardo, in 1967, the common concern of humanity developed by David Attard in 1988 and, in later years, the proposal for the appointment of a Guardian for Future Generations by then foreign minister Guido de Marco have placed Malta as a leader in safeguarding the well-being, rights and interests of future generations. This puts on us the onus to lead by example.
The State of the Nation conference is a good opportunity to take stock of the current situation and chart the way forward. We may start by asking ourselves: do we want to be good ancestors?
Alessia Psaila Zammit, lawyer, bioethics professional
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