Welcome to Malta’s Clearing-House Mechanism, the portal site set up by Malta to promote technical and scientific cooperation in the field of biodiversity and to provide information on matters related to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Malta ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) on the 29th December 2000.
The Clearing-House Mechanism (CHM) of the CBD has been established further to Article 18.3 of the Convention, which requires Parties to create a ‘clearing house mechanism’ to ‘promote and facilitate technical and scientific cooperation’ towards achieving the aims of the convention. In other words, all Parties are required to create a system, which helps to easily exchange information on how they are implementing the CBD, including information that would enable others to learn from such an approach. This website is part of a global network of CHMs.
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into force in December 1993, is an international treaty and has three main objectives:
- the conservation of biological diversity;
- the sustainable use of its components, and;
- the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from genetic resources.
As of 2020, 195 nations are Parties to the Convention including Malta. The European Union is also independently a Party to the Convention, making 196 Parties in total. Malta ratified the Convention in 2000 and became Party in 2001.
The CBD governing body is the Conference of the Parties (COP), consisting of all governments (and regional economic integration organisations) that have ratified the treaty. The COP, inter alia, reviews progress under the Convention, identifies new priorities, and sets work plans for members. The COP uses expertise and support from several other bodies that are established by the Convention. The main organs are:
- The CBD Secretariat, based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which operates under UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme. Its primary functions are to organise meetings, prepare reports, assist member governments in the implementation of the various programmes of work, coordinate with other international organizations and collect and disseminate information.
- The Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA), a committee composed of experts from member governments competent in relevant fields, makes recommendations to the COP on scientific and technical issues.
- The Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), has four functions and core areas of work:
(a) review of progress in implementation;
(b) strategic actions to enhance implementation;
(c) strengthening means of implementation, and;
(d) operations of the convention and the Protocols.
Under this framework agreement, there are two protocols, the:
Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety & The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
Malta ratified the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety on 5 January 2007. The protocol aims to ensure the safe transport, handling and use of living modified organisms (LMOs) resulting from modern biotechnology that may have adverse effects on biodiversity, also taking into account risks to human health. It establishes an advance informed agreement (AIA) procedure for ensuring that countries are provided with the information necessary to make informed decisions before agreeing to the import of such organisms into their territory. The Protocol entered into force locally on 5 April 2007. As of 2020, 173 Parties have ratified the Cartagena Protocol.
The Nagoya-Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress is a binding supplementary agreement to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Adopted in 2010, the Supplementary Protocol entered into force in 2018. It provides that States must require operators to take response measures in the event of damage resulting from the transboundary movement of living modified organisms. As of 2020, there are 48 Contracting Parties to the Supplementary Protocol; however, Malta is not currently a Party.
- Malta’s Country Profile
- Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
- The Nagoya – Kuala Lumpur Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety
- Deliberate Release into the Environment of Genetically Modified Organisms
- Deliberate release into the environment of genetically modified organisms regulations, S.L. 549.60 MT EN
- Contained Use of Genetically Modified Micro-Organisms
- Contained use of genetically modified micro-organisms regulations, S.L. 549.49 MT EN
- Malta’s Biosafety Clearing House (BCH)
Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing
The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing aims at sharing the benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources in a fair and equitable way, including by appropriate access to genetic resources and by appropriate transfer of relevant technologies. It entered into force on 12 October 2014 and to date has been ratified by 128 Parties. Malta accessed the Protocol on 1 December 2016 and it entered into force on 1 March 2017.
- The Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-sharing
- Malta’s Country Profile within the Access and Benefit-Sharing Clearing House (ABSCH)
- Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits arising from their Utilisation Regulations, S.L. 549.111 MT EN
Article 6 of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) requires that each signatory country (known as a Party) has to develop a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) or equivalent instrument, in accordance with its particular conditions and capabilities. This creates an obligation for Parties to carry out national biodiversity planning, and defining a course of action with specific targets and plans to fulfil the objectives of the Convention. In this context. NBSAPs are considered as one of the strongest implementation mechanisms in the CBD. Furthermore, the Convention requires each Party to ensure that its respective NBSAP is mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors that can have a positive or negative impact on biodiversity.
In Decision X/2, the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties held in 2010 (CBD COP-10), in Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, Japan, adopted a revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, for the 2011-2020 period. Parties agreed to translate this overarching international framework into revised and updated national biodiversity strategies and action plans within two years.
In this context, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 reflects the Aichi Targets, to which the EU committed in 2010. The Strategy aims to halt the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the EU and help stop global biodiversity loss by 2020. The EU Commission is currently evaluating the Strategy. The evaluation is looking into the Strategy’s effectiveness, efficiency, coherence with other policies, relevance and EU added value.
In Decision X/17, the CBD COP-10 adopted the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) 2011 – 2020. The Strategy, with its 16 targets, aims at understanding, conserving and using sustainably the world’s immense wealth of plant diversity, whilst promoting awareness and building the necessary capacities for its implementation.
Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2012 – 2020
Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2012 – 2020 serves as a national policy driver to integrate biodiversity concerns into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies, especially those that can have a bearing on Malta’s biological and natural resources.
This policy has been given the theme “Working hand-in-hand with nature” and a long-term vision that “All Maltese citizens will value the importance of Malta’s biodiversity and work hand-in-hand with nature in their daily lives. Efforts aimed at sustainable and more resource-efficient choices and actions by local communities and relevant sectors have contributed to a significant improvement in the status of Malta’s biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, for the well-being of present and future generations.” To achieve this, the document proposes:
- 19 national targets to be achieved by 2020;
- strategic directions seen as pre-requisites for reaching the targets, and;
- a suite of 80 focused, action- and outcome-oriented measures grouped under the following 18 thematic areas:
Theme 1 – Genetic resources & diversity
Theme 2 – Species & habitats
Theme 3 – Ecological network of protected areas
Theme 4 – Biological introductions
Theme 5 – Sustainable use of biological resources
Theme 6 – Sustainable use of natural resources: Soil, water & land
Theme 7 – Climate change
Theme 8 – Pro-biodiversity businesses & a green economy
Theme 9 – Financing biodiversity
Theme 10 – Communication, education & public awareness
Theme 11 – Participatory conservation
Theme 12 – Enforcement
Theme 13 – Environmental assessment
Theme 14 – Research & development
Theme 15 – Biodiversity monitoring
Theme 16 – Networking & information exchange
Theme 17 – Capacity building
Theme 18 – Other sectoral integration
While reflecting national priorities for biodiversity, these targets are also complementary to the 2020 global Aichi targets defined in the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, under the framework of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), as well as the targets defined in the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation 2011-2020.
A final review of implementation has been carried out to assess the progress of the implementation of Malta’s NBSAP 2012-2020, as part of the CBD Reporting process. The findings of the review show that Malta has contributed to the achievement of the UN Aichi Targets and CBD objectives and advanced on the implementation of the NBSAP 2012-2020. However, further concerted efforts were needed at the national level for the full implementation of the NBSAP.
For more information refer to Malta’s National Reports to the CBD.
Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to 2030
Malta is in the process of drafting its next NBSAP to 2030, in order to continue the Government’s long-term efforts on biodiversity conservation. A public consultation has been carried out in July 2020 to invite the public to submit feedback or comments on the intent and objectives.
The main proposed objectives of Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to 2030 are to:
- outline the national priorities and establish a comprehensive and proactive framework for safeguarding Malta’s biodiversity;
- serve as a national policy driver to mainstream biodiversity and its services into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies, especially those that have a bearing on Malta’s biological and natural resources;
- provide coordinated measures for addressing biodiversity loss and fostering nature conservation;
- contribute to the protection of ecosystems and their services, as well as social and economic safeguards through the elimination and effective management of all associated pressures and threats;
- structure and facilitate broad participation and collective action for biodiversity conservation and restoration through stakeholder cooperation;
- streamline the legal requirements of global, regional and national legislation, as well as to offer strategic direction on how to address biodiversity loss at a national level;
- provide opportunities and create an impetus necessary for achieving the national priorities and the Global Biodiversity Targets, while also contributing to the implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the UN Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
Article 26 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requires Parties to submit periodic national reports to the Conference of the Parties (COP) that assess measures taken to implement the CBD and the effectiveness of those actions in meeting the Convention’s objectives.
Malta submitted the following National Reports:
- Malta’s Sixth National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2019)
- Malta’s Fifth National Report on the Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (2014)
- Malta’s Fourth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2010)
In accordance with Article 20, and various COP decisions (Decision 14/22 being the most recent following CBD COP-14), Parties are also required to report on their contribution to the collective efforts to reach the global targets for resource mobilization.
Malta submitted the following Financial Reporting Framework:
The fourteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-14) adopted a comprehensive and participatory process for the preparation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework in its Decision 14/34.
The CBD COP-15, planned for the second quarter of 2021 in Kunming (China), will adopt a Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework as a stepping-stone towards the 2050 Vision of “Living in harmony with nature”. Malta is currently following the preparatory process to the CBD COP-15. The goals and targets of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework will be integrated into Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan to 2030.
The EU contributed to the upcoming international negotiations on the global post-2020 biodiversity framework by publishing the EU biodiversity strategy for 2030. The document is a comprehensive, ambitious and long-term plan to protect nature and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. The strategy aims to put Europe’s biodiversity on a path to recovery by 2030, and contains specific actions and commitments.
Each contracting Party to the CBD has National Focal Points (NFPs) and a Competent National Authority (CNA), which in Malta is the Environment and Resources Authority.
Mr. Darrin T. Stevens
Environment and Resources Authority
Hexagon House, Spencer Hill
Marsa MRS 1441
CBD Primary NFP, SBSTTA NFP, GTI NFP, GSPC NFP
Mr. Joseph Caruana
Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise
6, Qormi Road
St. Venera SVR 1301
CBD Primary NFP
Ms. Marie Therese Gambin
Unit Manager Thematic
Biodiversity and Water Unit
Environment and Resources Authority
Hexagon House, Spencer Hill
Marsa MRS 1441
CHM NFP, Traditional Knowledge NFP, Protected Areas NFP
Article 33 of the Biosafety Protocol requires Parties to monitor implementation of their obligations under the Protocol and to report to the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Protocol (COP-MOP) on measures taken to implement the Protocol.
Malta submitted the following National Reports:
Each contracting Party to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety has National Focal Points (NFPs) and a Competent National Authority (CNA), which in Malta is the Environment and Resources Authority.
|Ms. Marie Therese Gambin
Unit Manager Thematic
|Cartagena Protocol Primary NFP, Cartagena Protocol emergency contact point, BCH NFP
+356 2292 3659
Each contracting Party to the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing has National Focal Points (NFPs) and a Competent National Authority (CNA), which in Malta is the Plant Protection Directorate, within the Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights (MAFA).
|Mr. Louis Fresta
Principal Scientific Officer
ABS National Focal Point
+356 2292 6562