The government is committed to improving its overall environmental governance and achieving its environmental goals.
Following the Environmental Resources Authority’s (ERA) annual report and an EU Environmental Implementation Review (EIR) on Malta, the government recognised a number of opportunities for Malta to improve its practices in compliance and enforcement.
“Whilst there are various commendable environmental initiatives and actions, we still have a lot of work to do when it comes to enforcement. Regulations are not there to look good on paper. They are there to be implemented effectively, without fear or favour. This is this government’s commitment and priority. We shall improve overall environmental governance,” the Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia said.
The Minister was speaking during the launch of the ‘Reform and Capacity-building in Permissions and Compliance at ERA’, a project aimed to support the ERA in its efforts to strengthen regulatory processes and meet the demands expected of a 21st century environmental regulator.
He explained that ERA has embarked on this project in order to reform its permitting and compliance arms, whilst also ensuring capacity-building. “Quality of life is not only an economic matter. It is also an environmental one. That is why our priority is the protection of our environment. The environment is also a matter of economic importance,” Minister Farrugia said.
The Minister explained that this effort will, in turn, contribute to the national economic goals by enabling environmental regulation that does not put undue burden on businesses and operators whilst improving quality of life in the islands.
It will do so by strengthening the skills of its employees, introducing modern practices that are efficient, and improving management and administration of data, as well as the overall effective workings of the Authority.
“We will strengthen environmental enforcement overall, notably by ensuring that ERA has operative remits to effectively avoid and reduce adverse environmental impacts as well as to integrate environmental considerations, such as in development planning decisions and related follow-ups. There will be clear and transparent processes for the authorisation of permits, facilities and activities that have an impact on the environment,” the Minister said.
“Ultimately, the goal is to reinforce the development of a strong environmental regulator that ensures that activities respect environmental sustainability.”
The project, worth €450,000, was funded by the Structural Reform Support Programme.