The Malta Independent 11 December 2017, Monday

No political will to prioritise environmental concerns - study

Malta Independent Monday, 3 March 2014, 15:15 Last update: about 4 years ago

A study by environmentalist Antoine Borg Micallef concluded that “there is no political will in Malta to prioritise environmental concerns before the government’s political agenda.”

This study exposed a situation where stakeholders felt an apparent lack of political will to achieve environmental targets. This could be a reason why the concept of environmental governance in Malta has not yet been successfully implemented.

Mr Borg Micallef chose Dwejra in Gozo as a case study to gauge the level of stakeholder participation and environmental governance in Malta.

This research project set out to uncover the current management regimes of this prominent site, by analysing them in reference to the concepts of environmental governance and stakeholder participation.

Dwejra was chosen as a study site as a result of recent events that raised questions on how such sites are being managed by the authorities. This research focused on issues of onsite development and filming, in light of the ‘Interpretation Centre’ saga and Game of Thrones incident.

Stakeholders interviewed felt they were underrepresented in decisions pertaining to the management of Dwejra Heritage Park (DHP), supporting the argument that stakeholder participation had not been achieved.

While it was argued that the government had tried to assimilate stakeholder participation in its management scheme, this was not successful. As such, this study exposes a situation where the influential players involved in environmental conservation in Malta are mainly higher governmental bodies, Mr Borg Micallef said.

Stakeholders interviewed felt they were underrepresented in decisions pertaining to the management of Dwejra Heritage Park (DHP), supporting the argument that stakeholder participation had not been achieved.

While it was argued that the government had tried to assimilate stakeholder participation in its management scheme, this was not successful. As such, this study exposes a situation where the influential players involved in environmental conservation in Malta are mainly higher governmental bodies.

In his study, Mr Borg Micallef recommended that MEPA explores the possibility of monitoring visitor numbers at Dwejra. 

This would contribute to better tourism management plans, and could provide a dialogue with relevant stakeholders, including service providers such as divers, boat trippers, and transport providers.

“I am confident in the government’s commitments towards the environment, but entities such as MEPA need to be given more support on how to implement stakeholder participation, seeing as the cases of development and filming in Dwejra have shown these efforts to be unsuccessful,” Mr Borg Micalllef said.

Contact details: ucfa051@ucl.ac.uk

Further information (personal blog): http://themaltingpot.wordpress.com/

 

This research was conducted as part of an MSc programme at University College London, and was partially funded by the Strategic Educational Pathways Scholarship (Malta). This Scholarship is part-financed by the European Union – European Social Fund (ESF) under Operational Programme II – Cohesion Policy 2007-2013, “Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality Of Life”.

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