Fourth National Report to the cbd – malta executive Summary

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Other Sources of Information:

  • EU Commission (2007). Accompanying document to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council 'Towards Sustainable Water Management in the European Union' First stage in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC [COM (2007) 128 final] [SEC(2007) 363]

  • MAP-CAMP Malta Project – Integrated Water Management of the North-West Region of Malta (Executive Summary)

  • MED-EUWI WG on Groundwater (2007). Mediterranean Groundwater Report - Technical report on groundwater management in the Mediterranean and the Water Framework Directive

  • NCSD (2006): Section 3.1.4 Freshwater, In: National Sustainable Development Strategy, page 18.

  • NSO (2006). Environmental Statistics 2006, Valletta, Malta. 72pp.

  • NSO (2008). World Day for Water 2008. News Release 45/2008.

  • Sammut (2002). Section 5.4: Freshwater Resources. In: Axiak, V. and Sammut A. 2002. The Coast and Freshwater Resources. In: State of the Environment Report for Malta, 2002. Ministry for Home Affairs and the Environment. August 2002. 70 pp.

4.0 Conclusions

This chapter provides an overview of the state of progress towards 2010 targets and the national contribution to the achievement of the goals of the CBD’s Strategy Plan.

4.1 Progress towards the 2010 targets


Goal/target being successfully attained

Ongoing work but goal/target not yet attained as further measures are necessary

Goal/target not being attained





Goal 1 - Promote the conservation of the biological diversity of ecosystems, habitats and biomes

Target 1.1: At least 10% of each of the world's ecological regions effectively conserved

There is no similar national target set. However, about 20.5% of the Maltese land territory is designated, which is deemed adequate considering national issues of land constraints and high population density.

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 1 and PoW PA of this report]

Target 1.2: Areas of particular importance to biodiversity protected

Sufficiency of sites forming part of the Natura 2000 network under the EC Habitats Directive has reached over 90% for terrestrial sites; efforts are being directed towards designating other MPAs.

[See also responses to PoW PA of this report]

Goal 2 - Promote the conservation of species diversity

Target 2.1: Restore, maintain, or reduce the decline of populations of species of selected taxonomic groups

A number of species are earmarked for in situ conservation (such as by way of prohibitions of killing, taking and trading; abatement of threats, which includes removal of invasive species and habitat restoration, etc.). Where deemed to be of added value, in situ efforts are supported by ex situ measures, namely with regard to the propagation of rare plant species. Nonetheless, more work is needed to cover other species especially marine taxonomic groups. Species Action Plans (SAPs) have been drafted for certain groups of marine taxa. Work on a dossier on wildlife exploitation, covering fauna of European Community Interest under the Habitats Directive, will help identify strategic directions for strengthening the implementation of a strict protection regime for animal species in compliance with this Directive. [See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 2 of this report]

Target 2.2: Status of threatened species improved

Many species remain threatened – although species, including their habitats, are legally protected, other in situ measures help to curb threats. Managers of some protected areas have reported recovery of certain species. The status of birds also seems to be improving as recently highlighted in the 2009 Rare Breeding Bird Report. This report notes that almost half of all rare breeding species are increasing their distribution and several rare species are breeding on the islands for the first time in many years.

When considering species of EU Community importance under the Habitats Directive, the status of 37 percent of species listed in this Directive is still unknown. Furthermore, 44 percent of species have a bad or inadequate conservation status.

The MEPA commissioned studies on threatened groups of taxa did assess the status of other species, amongst which several are endangered. The reports of these studies also put forward recommendations on how to improve the conservation status of those species that remain threatened.

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 2 of this report]

Goal 3 - Promote the conservation of genetic diversity

Target 3.1: Genetic diversity of crops, livestock, and of harvested species of trees, fish and wildlife and other valuable species conserved, and associated indigenous and local knowledge maintained

Animal and plant genetic resources have been eroded or entirely lost when modern varieties and breeds were introduced. Some characterisation trials are being carried out for certain crop species of local origin. Interest has also increased with regard to authochtonous species. Malta’s RDP 2007-2013 provides, under Axis II,:

  • support for the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture [The objective is to conserve and possibly reverse the trend of erosion of genetic resources in agriculture including plant species and varieties and livestock breeds],

  • support for the conservation of species in danger of genetic erosion [The aims are to (1) conserve and maintain biodiversity by preserving Maltese indigenous livestock breeds in danger of genetic erosion, in particular the Maltese Ox, by supporting the rearing and breeding of this particular breed; (2) to protect and maintain agricultural biodiversity by preserving those plant species that are in danger of genetic erosion, through support for their maintenance. The aims of this measure include the preservation of native varieties, the maintenance of habitats associated with endangered fauna and flora, and the conservation of genetic heritage to improve the agri-touristic potential of the island]

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 3 of this report and Section 3.1 of this report]

Goal 4 - Promote sustainable use and consumption

Target 4.1: Biodiversity-based products derived from sources that are sustainably managed, and production areas managed consistent with the conservation of biodiversity.

Sustainable agricultural and fisheries practices are being promoted.

Although sustainable use is advocated by national legislation, the issuance of policy guidance would help to further promote sustainable practices.

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 4 of this report and Sections 3.1 and 3.2]

Target 4.2: Unsustainable consumption, of biological resources, or that impacts upon biodiversity, reduced

Sustainable use of biological resources (animal and plant) is advocated by subsidiary legislation on nature protection enacted under the EPA (see e.g. Regulation 27 on the Control of Exploited Species in LN 311 of 2006, as amended).

Sustainable consumption of other resources such as water is also being promoted.

Malta is participating in efforts geared towards safeguarding fish stocks. Fishing restrictions are also applied in the 25 nm fisheries management zone (FMZ).

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 4 of this report and Sections 3.1, 3.2, and 3.7]

Target 4.3: No species of wild flora or fauna endangered by international trade

Malta acceded the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 17 April 1989 and the provisions of the Convention entered into force on 26 July 1989. The ‘Trade in Species of Fauna and Flora Regulations, 2004’ (LN 236 of 2004) transposes Council Regulation (EC) No. 338/97 and its amendments thereby enforcing CITES at a national level. Trade of non-CITES listed species is regulated through the legal mandate of the EPA and subsidiary legislation enacted thereto. Currently, the CITES Management Authority is preparing a set of illustrated guidelines aimed at helping the private sector understand the restrictions and procedures involved in the trade of both CITES and non-CITES listed species. In addition to this, the CITES team provides assistance on CITES-related matters through telephone calls and electronic mails on a daily basis. CITES enforcement is locally being undertaken by the Customs Division as per Commission Regulation (EC) No. 865/2006, together with in-country controls (particularly on avifauna species) performed by the Police Department. Both departments liaise directly with the CITES Management Authority whenever they encounter animal-trade-related cases. Whenever CITES species are involved, both Customs and the CITES Management Authority follow the set procedures with respect to the necessary permits. The CITES Management Authority is in the process of establishing a local Compliance Committee in order to facilitate CITES compliance and reporting issues.

More information can be obtained from MEPA’s portal on CITES.

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 4 of this report]

Goal 5 - Pressures from habitat loss, land use change and degradation, and unsustainable water use, reduced

Target 5.1: Rate of loss and degradation of natural habitats decreased

Trends show that land conversion has increased over the years with coastal habitats being the most impacted by development (see SOER 2005 – Sub-report on Land). Several tools are being applied to decrease habitat loss and degradation e.g. via regulation of land development (DPA), designation and management of protected areas (EPA), enforcement of relevant legislation under the EPA and DPA; Direct Action, Environment Assessments, Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), Structure Plan Policies, and Agri-Environment Measures under the RDP.

[See Response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 5 of this report and Section 3.6 of this report]

Goal 6. Control threats from invasive alien species.

Target 6.1: Pathways for major potential alien invasive species controlled.

Deliberate introduction of potentially invasive species from non-EU countries is controlled in compliance with national and EU legislation.

Proposals for introduction of new species undergo a form of a risk assessment procedure which is embedded in the implementation of the ‘Trade in Species of Fauna and Flora Regulations, 2004’.

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 6 of this report]

Target 6.2: Management plans in place for major alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species.

Actual management plans have not been developed. Nonetheless, a number of species are already being targeted for removal from protected areas – e.g. Rattus spp., and major invasive plants – Carpobrotus spp., Acacia spp., Arundo donax, Agave spp., Opuntia spp. and Ricinus communis to mention a few.

Policy guidance on managing major plant invaders in Malta is being drafted.

Measures for combating alien pests are also in place and published as legislation on plant health. For instance, alien plant pests being targeted include the Red Palm Weevil which infests palm trees. Pest species that are found in Annex 1 and 2 of Council Directive 2000/29/EC together with EPPO A1 and A2 lists and EPPO Alert list are also targeted.

MEPA’s commissioned studies on alien flora and fauna have put forward recommendations for strengthening efforts to combat invasive species. Datasheets have also been prepared on alien plants and animals that are already present in the Maltese Islands, which should be considered with priority. Those requiring priority action have been identified.

[See Response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 6 of this report]

Goal 7. Address challenges to biodiversity from climate change, and pollution.

Target 7.1: Maintain and enhance resilience of the components of biodiversity to adapt to climate change

Terrestrial ecological corridors are protected, where possible, and PAs are also accompanied with a buffer zone. Most terrestrial designated sites overlap with one another.

There are various ongoing projects involving afforestation and aimed at increasing the number of trees which would serve as a sink for CO2.

Research is needed on the effects of climate change on endemics, on important habitats as well as on species with high habitat specificity.

[See Response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 7 of this report]

Target 7.2: Reduce pollution and its impacts on Biodiversity

Reduction of pollution is being addressed via implementation of EU-related Directives on waste and water and national legislation that transposes these Directives. Various monitoring studies have also been carried to assess marine quality. Monitoring is also carried out in compliance with the Land-based Sources Protocol of the Barcelona Convention.

Separation and recycling of waste is also being significantly promoted by WasteServ Malta.

[See also response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 7 of this report]

Goal 8. Maintain capacity of ecosystems to deliver goods and services and support livelihoods

Target 8.1: Capacity of ecosystems to deliver goods and services maintained.

Conservation efforts contribute towards maintaining the resilience of ecosystems to adapt to environmental change. For instance, there are ongoing efforts to conserve and restore sand dune systems. Risk from landslides is being addressed via the implementation of vegetation stabilisation (e.g. as done at Magħtab).

National organisations entrusted with the role of overseeing disaster preparedness, response and mitigation include the Marine and Storm Water Unit, and the Valley Management Unit, both under the Services Division within MRRA. These units are involved in the implementation of marine and storm water infrastructural works, and the maintenance of valleys. Valley cleansing activities are carried out to control floods Enhanced resource mobilisation and capacity-building would better support the work of the Services Division and its respective Units.

[See Response to PoW Island Biodiversity Goal 8 of this report]

Target 8.2: Biological resources that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care, especially of poor people maintained.

The National Statistics Office carries out a Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC), which serves as a source of statistical data on income distribution, and aims to provide a complete set of indicators on poverty, social exclusion, pensions and material deprivation. The first survey was conducted in 2005 [see also Press Release 80/2007] and is currently being conducted on an annual basis (The 2007 survey findings are also published).

The Ministry for Social Policy has also issued a National Action Plan on Poverty and Social Exclusion 2004-2006 and National Reports on Strategies for Social Protection and Social Inclusion for 2006-2008 and 2008-2010. These provide an assessment of the social situation in Malta and describe priority policy objectives. The national report for 2008-2010 documents the following:

Malta’s long-term vision remains that of promoting and sustaining a better quality of life for all, particularly for those who are considered to be more vulnerable and therefore at greater risk of social exclusion and poverty.” For the short term19, the strategy for social inclusion integrated in this report, aims to maintain the rate of those experiencing risk of poverty stable at 14.2%20.This goal is complemented by the medium term21 target, to reduce the rate of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion from the present14.2%.This strategy also aims to address a number of other issues of concern specific to the strategy’s priority objectives, through enhancing children’s social inclusion prospects, promoting active inclusion, and promoting equality of opportunities.

Goal 9 Maintain socio-cultural diversity of indigenous and local communities

Target 9.1 Protect traditional knowledge, innovations and practices

There are various published works on Maltese folklore and traditional practices (including on what plants were used for their medicinal properties), amongst which one can mention the various books (published in Maltese) by Mr. Guido Lanfranco, which include for instance:

"Duwa u Semm fil-Ħxejjex Maltin" [1975]

"Ħxejjex Mediċinali u Oħrajn fil-Gżejjer Maltin" [1993]

Mediċina popolari ta' l-imgħoddi fil-Gżejjer Maltin” [2001])

Drawwiet u tradizzjonijiet Maltin” [2001]

Xogħol, Ġahġiħ u Snajja' li spiċċaw” [2003]

Ħajjitna fl-Imgħoddi” [2004]

Drawwiet u ħajja mill-istorja ta' Malta” [2005]

Bejn Storja u Drawwa” [2007]

An ethnobotanical study is ongoing to conserve the knowledge on the traditional use of plants (and animals) that have been grossly replaced by modernisation.

Target 9.2: Protect the rights of indigenous and local communities over their traditional knowledge, innovations and practices, including their rights to benefit sharing



Goal 10. Ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of genetic resources

Target 10.1: All transfers of genetic resources are in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture and other applicable agreements.

ABS requirements under the CBD are incorporated into domestic law via LN 160 of 2002 and LN 311 of 2006, as amended. ITPGRFA was signed by Malta.

Target 10.2: Benefits arising from the commercial and other utilization of genetic resources shared with the countries providing such resources.

Provisions for mutually agreed terms in line with the CBD are integrated in LN 311 of 2006, as amended. Capacity-building is however needed to further develop Malta’s ABS regime and administrative structure also in light of current negotiations of the International Regime on ABS, and any emerging new requirements.

Goal 11: Parties have improved financial, human, scientific, technical and technological capacity to implement the Convention

Target 11.1: New and additional financial resources are transferred to developing country Parties, to allow for the effective implementation of their commitments under the Convention, in accordance with Article 20.

Malta makes annual contributions to a number of multilateral environmental agreements to which it is a Party. Malta also contributes via EC funds to developing countries;

Target 11.2: Technology is transferred to developing country Parties, to allow for the effective implementation of their commitments under the Convention, in accordance with its Article 20, paragraph 4.

Malta contributes to technology transfer via EC external assistance for biodiversity
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