In your work, keep Malta’s reputation at the forefront, even internationally – The President

​President of Malta George Vella said that the work being done in favour of the quality of life, sustainability and the protection of the environment in today’s world should keep the country’s reputation at its centre, even internationally.

When visiting, together with Mrs Vella, the agency responsible for the environment and resources in the Maltese islands, the ERA, the President praised the valuable work being carried out by the agency and acknowledged its great responsibilities in our society. The environment is a topic that draws great interest and public reaction, and therefore the agency plays a central role in everyday life.

He stressed that the agency’s work is not only relevant at the national level but is also fundamental for the country to contribute to globally established goals, such as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. He mentioned climate change and other related environmental challenges, such as high temperatures, water levels, the threat to thousands of species around the world and uncontrolled dumping. He said that the role of the Ministry for the Environment and the ERA is fundamental in shaping policies as well as strategies to address these issues, but above all in enforcing a strong legislative framework which must be respected at all times and in all cases.

The President listed recent initiatives of the agency, including the drawing up of the National Strategy for the Environment, which will serve as a framework for national plans, policies and programmes, and praised the fact that this strategy is looking towards the future in a way that ensures sustainable planning. He mentioned that work is being done on the renewal of the Biodiversity Strategy, on a strategy relating to Invasive Alien Species, and on regulations relating to environmental impact assessments, marine environment conservation, use of single-use plastics and air pollution. These are all issues that need to be addressed as soon as possible in order to protect the present and future of the environment.

The President touched upon the topic of applications and permits. “I want to stress the importance of this responsibility that you are carrying. There must be no deviation from what the law requires, with all the integrity and diligence required of each and every one of the enforcement officers,” said the President.

“At the same time, the work to increase the efficiency in the processing of applications and permits must continue so that the public continues to be well-served. Always uphold the principles of transparency and accountability when carrying out your duties.”

President Vella thanked all the officials and employees of the ERA and the Ministry for the Environment for their contribution to further improving the quality of life in our country.
“I am sure that future generations will be grateful for what we are doing now to protect our planet, which is ultimately the legacy we must pass on to them,” concluded President Vella.

During this visit, the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia, the Chairperson of ERA Professor Victor Axiaq and the Chief Executive of ERA Perit Michelle Piccinino also addressed those present.

At the end of the visit, the ERA presented a donation to the President and Mrs Vella in aid of The Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.

28 January 2021