Last update:11 Jan 2017
|National Adaptation Strategy||Adopted (May 2012)|
|Action Plans||• Adopted||
|Impacts, vulnerability and adaptation assessments||• Preliminary Flood Risk Assessment - May 2013|
|Research programmes||• Currently being undertaken by the University of Malta|
|Climate Services / Met Office||• Established under the Malta International Airport (MIA) Meteorological Services Office and the Climate Research Group of the University of Malta.|
|Web Portal||Planned to be developed in the future|
|Monitoring, Indicators, Methodologies||• currently being undertaking • adopted • still to be developed||
|Training and education resources||• currently being undertaking||Catch the drop campaign – EKO Skola in progress 2013-2016.|
|National Communication on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change||• completed (Submitted in April 2014)|
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy was published and adopted by the Government of Malta in 2012. It aims to build upon the National Strategy for Policy and Abatement Measures Relating to the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of 2009 in terms of governance and policy infrastructure. The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy seeks to identify recommendations in various sectors, which are vulnerable to climate change, such as water, agriculture, infrastructure, building, human health and tourism. It also addresses the financial impacts as well as sustainability issues.
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy identifies the principal strategic climate impacts likely to affect Malta and outlines 72 actions to be taken. Some of the actions delineate measures to be taken on the designs of building which should be improved, if necessary through enforcement and economic disincentives/incentives; to maximise passive cooling supported by the education of households and industry on cost effective retro-fitting of energy and water efficiency improving technologies onto existing buildings, amongst other actions. The Strategy also highlights specific issues for improvements, such as that Malta cannot continue to rely exclusively on active cooling to counter the effects of poor building design.
On water, which plays an integral part on climate adaption, the Strategy highlights the fact that despite the limited resources of the Islands and the importance of water for a healthy future, the prevailing attitude amongst the population in general, and target stakeholders specifically, has not resulted in a culture which perceives water as a valuable and precious, finite resource. The Strategy encourages the commercial and industrial sectors to build reservoirs and other rainwater catchment measures to re-use captured water and to recycle grey water for non-potable purposes as well as to introduce efficient water use technologies through the introduction of incentive schemes. Furthermore, the Strategy underlines that increased dependence on RO water to substitute natural water will result in increased energy generation with an increase in demand for fossil fuel, or gas, and therefore a potential increase of GHG emissions on the Islands.
Implementation of the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is possible through inter-ministerial cooperation. In this regard, implementation of climate specific actions on adaptation is undertaken by the relevant Ministries or departments depending on the different sectors in which action is being taken. Relevant Ministries and departments responsible for specific implementation include, inter alia, Ministry for Sustainable Development Environment and Climate Change (MSDEC), Ministry for Health, Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity (Elderly), Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure (MTI), Office for the Prime Minister Energy (OPM-Energy), Transport Malta (TM), the Agricultural Department (AD), the Rural Development Department (RDD), the Malta Resources Authority (MRA), and the Environment Resources Authority (ERA).
Malta has adopted the Climate Action Act, 2015 (CAP 543) to streamline Malta's commitments on climate change on both main fronts of climate action, namely mitigation and adaption in a legally binding way. This Act aims to instil ownership across the board to fine tune effective climate action and governance. Specifically, on adaptation, the Climate Action Act, 2015 (CAP 543) dictates the process to conduct periodic reviews and update of the National Adaptation Strategy. It also foresees to include information on climate change actual and projected impacts.
Information under this section is provided under section " Information and Assessments".
a. OBSERVATIONS AND PROJECTIONS
Observations and forecasts on weather and climate conditions in Malta are conducted by the Malta International Airport (MIA) Meteorological Services Office. The MET Office provides meteorological services to various stakeholders. The MET Office maintains a continuous observation and forecasting service with the function of a Meteorological Watch Office (MWO). Detailed weather information is also issued by this service provider, within the airspace covering the Maltese territory as listed in the Agreement between the Government of Malta and Malta International Airport plc. concerning the provision of Meteorological Services (2002). Observations are conducted on a mandatory basis and these are done through the automatic weather stations located across the islands. The Met Office is fully equipped with modern technological systems to support meteorology in Malta & Gozo including a Storm Weather Radar and the latest systems for Automatic Weather Stations all over Malta & Gozo. In 2015 new software for monitoring weather and the preparation of weather forecasts shall be introduced.
The Climate Research Group (CRG) within the University of Malta (Department of Physics) has a numerical weather prediction model called WRF which makes forecasts over the Maltese Islands. CRG also runs two regional climate models (RCMs) called PRECIS and RegCM4 on the super computer cluster facility (ALBERT) at the University of Malta. At the moment, PRECIS is not up to date and fully functional due to financial restraints and limited resources; however the CRG is planning in rectifying this problem as soon as it has the adequate capacity building.
b. IMPACTS & VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT
As a small island state in the Mediterranean region, Malta is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (May, 2012) identifies the principal strategic climate impacts likely to affect Malta. The Third, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth National Communication of Malta to the UNFCCC has earmarked major local sectors as requiring attention when devising adaptation measures due to their current vulnerability, which increases their susceptibility to risk from climate change:
- Water Resources
- Infrastructure and Land Use
- Natural Ecosystems
- Agriculture and Fisheries
- Civil Protection Immigration and Vulnerable Groups
Malta's size and insularity are particularly important in defining the economy in its relation to climate change. The fact that islands contribute insignificant amounts to global emissions does not preclude them from impacts of climate change, which will mostly result from effects such as sea level rise.
In Malta's Second National Communication to the UNFCCC (2010) vulnerability and needs to adapt specific to small island states, were identified. The conclusions of which are still relevant today. The relevant factors identified in the said report include:
- socio‐economic activities in coastal areas;
- extreme exposure and high sensitivity to external market shocks, such that small island states would be highly susceptible to climate change, that influence not only them but also other countries;
- high dependence on tourism, a sector that is especially susceptible to climate change;
- high population densities, implying more extreme socio‐economic effects over limited areas;
- poorly developed infrastructure, which reduces the scope for mitigation and adaptation;
- relatively thin water lenses that are easily disturbed by changes in climatic conditions;
- the limited space and resources and relative isolation, in addition to urgent economic growth and development targets are some of the challenges faced by an island state in the context of adaptation. In the Second Communication a vulnerability index was developed for production activities as well as for expenditure activities.
Primarily, research policy in Malta falls under the responsibility of the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST), as well as the Ministry for Education. These bodies are responsible for national research funding and student grant schemes (scholarships) respectively. In their choice of funding areas, they drive directly and indirectly the national policy on research.
A new National Research and Innovation Strategy 2020 was launched for public consultation in early 2014 (National Research and Innovation Strategy 2020 – Draft for Public Consultation, Malta Council for Science and Technology, 2014) and was finalised and published in June 2014. It looks at building critical mass and capacity in select areas, giving the country a competitive edge. IA specific area identified in the new strategy for the purpose of building capacity for excellence is in climate change adaptation.
The University of Malta has the intention of setting up the Centre of Excellence in Climate Change Research with the Government expressing its intention to support this initiative by possibly including it in the upcoming Smart Specialisation Strategy.
Efforts by the Ministry of Education focus on increasing the research population and set up funding schemes for further studies leading to master and doctoral degrees. In 2006 the Ministry set up the Malta Government Scholarship Scheme (MGSS) and between 2006 and 2013 supported 204 Master and 193 PhD scholarships. Quality of the proposal and the contribution of the research to the Maltese economy were criteria or the awarding of scholarships under this programme.
Between 2009 and 2012, the Ministry launched another scholarship scheme, funded through the European Social Funds, to complement the MGSS. This scheme, entitled Strategic Educational Pathways Scholarships (STEPS) also provided support through scholarships for masters and doctoral studies, with a special emphasis on science and technology programmes of study.
Between 2009 and 2012, a total of 260 Scholarships for Master (222) and Doctorate (38) studies in fields related to science and technology were awarded under STEPS, at a total cost of over €4.2million.The STEPS scholarships were financed based on the quality of the proposal and the contribution of the research to a number of areas.
In 2013, the Government launched the ‘Master it! Scholarship Scheme' aimed at supporting further studies at masters levels. The scholarships are part-funded by the ‘European Union Operational Programme II - Cohesion Policy 2007-2013 - Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life' through the European Social Fund. The increased focus of such funding programmes on issues relating to climate action will not only support scholarship but will also channel research in this important area of study.
Research activities: the role of the University of Malta in spearheading climate research and systematic observation
The University of Malta is the primary institution to develop and support research in the area of climate change both on mitigation and adaptation. The recent setting up of the University Platform for Climate Change (in 2012) and the establishment of the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development (in 2013) serve to better coordinate research activities within the different faculties, institutes and centres of the University. The aim of the Platform is indeed to bring together the various bodies involved in research on climate change issues in the University. There are different bodies, faculties and institutes working under the auspices of the University of Malta working on various facets of climate change.
d. MONITORING PROGRESS
The Ministry (MSDEC) has taken on the role of spearheading the coordination of Climate Action Policy. As the lead Ministry for Climate Action, the Ministry preserved the set up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMC) to ensure synergies, where and when appropriate especially to monitor progress, within the energy, transport, finance and economic investment policies sectors. This set up has been in place since 2009 (as per Malta's Mitigation Strategy). The IMC continues to be the main forum through which more overarching policies are discussed and formulated as needs and requirements develop even within climate change adaptation context.
Monitoring of the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (May, 2012) was also conducted through the screening of the Malta's National Environment Policy (NEP) under the sections related to climate change. This policy document identifies climate change as a long term sustainability issue for Malta and underlines the synergies that can be exploited between the various related sectors.
Monitoring of the strategy implementation is done by contacting and discussion with the sectorial focal persons on the IMC-CC and up to present the status of some actions is as indicated hereunder. Given that the strategy has been published in 2012 and implementation has been taking place since then, some of the actions mentioned have been implemented; others are in progression, whereas some measures have been superseded by other actions which are being absorbed within other policies as a result of structural, administrative and legal changes. Priority was directed towards adaptation policy and implementation measures that Malta requires to undertake to secure sustainability of its environment.
One of the legal changes which has been undertaken in Malta since 2012 is the enactment of the Climate Action Act, 2015 (CAP 543), which now encompasses a key role in the implementation on various adaption measures by its very existence, namely with regard to recognizing the need at a national level for climate action thereby raising awareness and also providing for a legal instrument to fund climate action. Furthermore, there are structural changes ongoing within the Maltese public services with the specific situation of a demerger in the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, which shall lead to the establishment of an Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) incorporating environment and climate change regulatory and monitoring functions. It is planned that this shall take over the regulatory and technical support functions presently fulfilled by the Malta's Resources Authority's climate change unit. It is expected that such structural changes will impact the implementation of adaption measures mainly by increasing Malta's capacity and resources on climate action.
Sectorial policy in Malta lies within the domain of the various Ministries, Departments, Government Authorities or Agencies under whose remit a particular sector falls. This can also be said to form the first level of policy setting that potentially contributes to limiting or reducing national greenhouse gas emissions, through a bottom-up sectorial approach. Individual industrial enterprises, particularly major parastatal organisations whose activities contribute substantially to national emission levels, also often contribute to such a policy-making approach.
As referred to above governance of climate action is going to be governed in Malta through the Climate Action Bill and mainstreamed across all sectors and to facilitate cooperation accordingly is currently facilitated through Inter Departmental and Inter Ministerial Committees. This together with the strengthening of the institutional set up can ensure an efficient administrative, policy and legal approach to adaptation, abatement and mitigation measures.
To establish an oversight of policy development and implementation of climate action policy, capacity building is currently ongoing within the Ministry, through the set up of a specific Directorate for the Environment and Climate Change (DECC). This Directorate, which was set up in December 2013, seeks to advise Government on climate action, to oversee and monitor the implementation of the relevant strategies as adopted by Government and as directed by the Minister responsible for climate change policy. t. The Directorate also advises the Minister responsible for climate change policy on any matters arising from the provisions of the current Environment and Development Planning Act, 2010.
Whilst strategy and policy oversight is therefore conducted at Ministry level on the one hand, the technical regulation related to the functions of the EU ETS Competent Authority functions, the Monitoring Mechanism reporting, UNFCCC inventory, biennial report, SEF and LULUCF reporting under Kyoto Protocol, and other functions emanating from Malta's obligations as a party to the Kyoto Protocol and EU regulations is conducted at the regulatory authority's level. At present this implementation and technical regulation is being conducted by the Climate Change Unit (CCU) within the Malta Resources Authority (MRA).
Due to our size and limited resources adaption actions are implemented at a national level and are depended on the central administration, thus subnational execution does not apply.
Coordination mechanism and involvement of stakeholders as contained in the Climate Action Act, 2015 (CAP 543)
On the specific institutional set up and the coordination mechanism to involve stakeholders, the draft Climate Action Bill foresees the setting up of a Climate Action Board of an inter-Ministerial nature.
On the specific institutional set up and the coordination mechanism to involve stakeholders, the Climate Action Act, 2015 (CAP 543) set up of a Climate Action Board of an inter-Ministerial nature. The functions of the Climate Action Board are related mainly to the supervision of the implementation of the Act together with any regulations that shall be eventually issued there under. This provision is designed to strengthen efficient collaborative action involving all stakeholders in view of the cross-cutting nature of climate change that prevails over each and every sector of the economy.
Public and Private Partnership
There are various engagement on projects related to climate change one of which is the ‘Catch the Drop Campaign' by HSBC Malta. Originally, this was a proposal submitted by the Government with the support of HSBC Malta and has won €500,000 in HSBC Group funding to develop this campaign, a strategic 3-year initiative started in October 2013.
The Catch the Drop Campaign is a national environmental and educational campaign for sustainable water in Malta. Number of school children across the Maltese islands have been reached through education initiatives and sharing information about water conservation. During the academic year of 2013-2014, staff volunteers for the HSBC Water Programme conducted 305 presentations for 19,438 students – nearly half of the total number the programme aims to reach by 2016. The campaign aims to reach every single student in Malta, that is, over 50,000 students coming from 155 schools, all the 67 Local Councils in Malta and Gozo, as well as the Maltese public at large.
This initiative aims at achieving two vital objectives: raising awareness about water conservation among students across Malta and Gozo and involving students in water projects to encourage their development as pro-active ambassadors for water conservation and environmental sustainability. Project proposals range from practical considerations such as installing duel flush systems in schools and push button taps, to innovative systems for catching rainwater runoff on school premises and education multimedia content including a short movie about water conservation.
b. ADAPTATION CAPACITY, DISSEMINATION, EDUCATION, TRAINING
Most of the educational initiatives related to climate change were conducted and, or, initiated within the formal education sector as it provides the advantage of having defined educational programmes, specific target audiences and dedicated structures that can be oriented to cater for emergent needs.
Climate Change themes appeared in school curricula 2008 at secondary level and as far back as 2002 at post-secondary level. At university level, there are a good number of study units and courses that address climate change, the majority promoting a scientific/technological perspective, closely followed by themes related to the economic and legal dimension of the phenomenon. Worth pointing out is the emergence of study units, albeit very limited in number, which approach climate change from a holistic perspective and adopt a learner centred methodology.
The University of Malta is significantly involved in generating knowledge about climate change through local and international research projects. Once again, the predominant thrust of these research projects is scientific and technological in nature. Another emerging trend in university based research is the focus on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) related issues (including themes related to climate change education).
The need to include Education for Sustainable Development in the National Curriculum was repeatedly suggested by most of the national documents focusing on sustainable development and climate change. This target was achieved in 2012 with the publication of the National Curriculum Framework (A National Curriculum Framework for All, Ministry for Education and Employment, 2012) that proposes Education for Sustainable Development as a cross curricular theme.
Another notable development in the formal education sector was the launch of EkoSkola – an international ESD programme – in 2002. Disseminated in the vast majority of local schools, EkoSkola empowers students to adopt an active role in environmental decision-making and action in their school and in their community. Climate change is a frequently recurrent theme in the activities carried out by schools participating in EkoSkola. In the June 2008 session of the EkoSkola Parliament, students urged members of parliament to treat climate change as a national priority.
The EkoSkola schools' commitment towards climate change issues was subsequently extended beyond the school confines through the School-Community Link Project Grant Scheme. The scheme was intended to financially support schools in their plans to initiate community-based sustainability projects targeting climate change. This was part of the Climate Initiative – a 3-Year project funded by HSBC International – that saw the implementation of 34 school-community projects spread all over the Maltese Islands and the organisation of two EkoSkola Parliament sessions (in 2010 and 2011) during which students reported to members of parliament about their projects.
The non-formal education sector was also the stage of a successful campaign called ‘Naqqas u Franka' (Save and Reduce) in 2011. The initiative, implemented by the Ministry for Gozo in collaboration with the University of Malta, targeted over 5,000 households and involved door-to-door visits during which eco-trainers provided families with free advice and an information booklet about water and energy conservation and proper waste management.
Presently, KOPIN (Koperazzjoni Internazzjonali) which is a voluntary, autonomous, non-profit and non-governmental organisation based in Malta working in the field of North-South cooperation and global education has organised a specific training course for farmers named ‘Facing climate change in Maltese agriculture'. This training course aimed to link agricultural practices with both the causes and consequences of climate change in order to promote sustainable best practices that protect the environment and ensure food safety. Particularly attention was given to the understanding of how farmers can adapt to a changing climate in order to maintain their yield while preserving precious resources.
In order to enhance education and training through data dissemination and sharing on climate change adaptation the Ministry (MSDEC)is envisaging creating an adaptation platform. This platform aims to have lists and links to action plans and measures which are directly or indirectly relate to climate change.
Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change
Directorate for the Environment and Climate Change
Office of The Permanent Secretary
MSDEC Offices, 6, Triq Hal Qormi,
Santa Venera, Malta
Ms Kathiana Ghio
Director – Environment and Climate Change
MSDEC Offices, 6, Triq Hal Qormi,
Santa Venera, Malta
Contact: +365 2292 6239