Dr Daniel Micallef and Dr Stanley Zammit are this year’s Buonamico Award winners. The Buonamico Award is a yearly award-giving ceremony under the patronage of H.E. President of Malta to honour individuals who have made significant contribution to our knowledge and/or management of local biodiversity and environmental resources. Giovanni Francesco Buonamico was a 17th century Maltese naturalist, whose varied intellectual interests resulted in the writing of at least four important manuscripts on natural history. These included the first flora of the Maltese Islands, the so-called “Brevis Notitia” manuscripts.

July this year marks the 33rd year from when Dr Daniel Micallef was appointed Minister for Education and the Environment. It was due to his strong conviction and persistence that the Environment became part of a Ministry for the first time in Malta’s history. Shortly after becoming a Minister, he set up the Institute for the Design of Environmental Action (IDEA). Through this institute, he sowed a seed in the Maltese awareness that the environment needed to be approached seriously and urgently. Dr Micallef constantly spoke of the need for the environment to be tackled in a holistic manner, rather than a subject to be addressed independently from the rest.

Most people in Malta surely remember Xummiemu, the amicable hedgehog advocating good practices in relation to the environment. The friendly character was the brainchild of Dr Stanley Zammit, a medical doctor who served both locally and abroad. Whilst serving as Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, he was responsible for the first Legal Notices published under the Environment Protection Act framework, concerning, amongst others, the protection of flora and fauna and the abatement of pollution.

Dr Zammit was also behind the creation of the first ever Environment Protection Department and was instrumental in the establishment of an Administrative Law Enforcement Section within the Maltese Police Force, in order to assist in the enforcement of environment related regulations. Dr Zammit was also very conscious of the need to raise environmental awareness; to this end, he placed a great emphasis on public information and educational initiatives.

Both the President of Malta, His Excellency Dr George Vella, and ERA’s Chairman, Professor Victor Axiak, congratulated the winners and their families, whilst thanking them for their priceless efforts towards the environment and for bravely spearheading initiatives that starting to bring about societal change within Malta and amongst the Maltese.

4 July 2019