The Malta Independent 17 June 2024, Monday
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Malta increases its Marine Protected Areas to 18

Monday, 22 May 2023, 18:13 Last update: about 2 years ago

The 15th National Focal Points Meeting of the UN Protocol, focusing on Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean, is taking place in Malta. 

Malta is implementing different actions to safeguard its marine protected area network, which covers 4,100 km2 of Mediterranean waters, 13 times the size of the country’s land surface. 

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Minister for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise Miriam Dalli explained Malta’s latest actions to protect its marine environment during the 15th National Focal Points Meeting of the United Nations Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean (the SPA/BD Protocol). This meeting is being hosted by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA). 

Minister Dalli said that Malta has already implemented many aspects of the UNEP/MAP Programme for 2022-2023. “In January, Malta adopted the first-ever conservation measures for all of our marine protected areas, and we are already implementing these plans. The latest scientific assessment of our marine turtles and resident aquatic mammals show that their populations are in a good environmental status, which is a positive result following more than 30 years of active legal protection in Malta,” Minister Dalli said. 

While Malta continued to add new protection areas in recent years, it is also working on other threats to its marine environment, including marine litter. In this regard, the Minister explained that “we are tackling this challenge through a circular economy approach, with the prohibition of single-use plastics, the promotion of recycling and reuse, and the recent introduction of mandatory waste separation for everyone, including households, businesses and all other entities and organisations.” 

ERA Deputy Director, Darrin T. Stevens noted how this meeting is demonstrating Malta’s continuous efforts in marine environment protection through several actions, such as the surveying and discovery of new habitats and species in Maltese waters, the protection of marine species, the allocation of resources for the safeguarding and rehabilitation of injured and beached marine life, and the Saving Our Blue campaign. 

ERA CEO Kevin Mercieca thanked the participants for their attendance and for the work they are carrying out. 

During the meeting, the focal points from each Member State that is Party to the Barcelona Convention will discuss technical and scientific aspects associated with the implementation of the Protocol. Such discussion includes aspects linked with the conservation and management of coastal and marine protected areas and species of particular interest around the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the implementation of activities under the UNEP/MAP Programme of Work and how this will be employed to achieve the United Nations Kunming Declaration on Biodiversity Conservation adopted by Governments in Montreal (Canada) in December 2022.

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