Natura 2000 in Malta

Each Member State of the European Union has the obligation under the EC Habitats Directive of contributing to the creation of the Natura 2000 network in proportion to the representation within its territory of the natural habitat types and the habitats of species specified in the Annexes of this Directive; the selected sites are referred to as Sites of Community Importance (SCIs). In addition to this, the EC Birds Directive requires Member States to protect naturally occurring wild birds and their habitats; the measures to be considered in order to affect this include among others the designation of Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Consequent to such obligations, Malta has submitted to the European Commission a number of sites to form part of this important network. The first submission was made back in 2004, following an extensive data collation and evaluation exercise, with the assistance of national experts, commissioned through a grant of the Council of Europe as part of the Emerald Network project. Further submissions, together with updates, were made along the years following the collation and review of further scientific data, as well as discussions with DG Environment.

The submission of sites to the European Commission entails the preparation of a datasheet related to each site, in a format established by the Commission as presented in Commission Decision 2011/484/EU, accompanied by the boundaries for each site. Easily accessible datasheets and maps for Malta are available here.

To date, Malta has 35 Sites of Community Importance (SCIs) declared under the EC Habitats Directive and 21 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) declared under the EC Birds Directive – including terrestrial and marine. When considering land area, over 41km2(>13%) is covered by such sites, while when considering the marine environment, the sites cover more than 3,450km2. Some SCIs completely overlap with SPAs, while some others partially overlap.​

Malta has reached a high degree of sufficiency

Malta is very advanced in its progress to designate terrestrial sites under the EC Habitats Directive. Its preparations reached a high percentage under the sufficiency index – 92.64% as at June 2008. This is the highest percentage among the States that acceded the EU in 2004 (see graph below: light green - acceded in 2004; blue - acceded before 2004; dark green - acceded after 2004). The evaluation of sufficiency is based on the range of each habitat and species in the full territory of each Member State and within the sites proposed by each. To reach 100% sufficiency, data is to be updated, proposed sites must be enlarged, or new sites proposed; work has already been considered to achieve such objective and communicated accordingly with the European Commission.

Reference is made to a Note on Sufficiency and a News Item.

State of progress by Member States in reaching sufficiency for the designation of Sites of Community Importance under the Habitats Directive (Marine areas are excluded)
(Source: Natura 2000 database - Updated June 2008).

State of progress by Member States in reaching sufficiency for the designation of Sites of Community Importance under the Habitats Directive (Marine areas are excluded)
(Source: European Environment Agency - Updated March 2013).​