SINGLE COUNTRY PROFILE

Basic Information
Year of approval of the SD strategy and updates

The process of drafting the first Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands started in December 2002. A National Commission for Sustainable Development was set up and was entrusted with the role of advocating on national sustainable development across all sectors; reviewing progress in the achievement of sustainable development; and achieving further progress. Following public consultations, in 2006 the National Commission proposed a Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands, which was endorsed by Cabinet in December 2007. Its mandate terminated at the end of 2016.

The Sustainable Development Act, Cap. 521 was later adopted in 2012, resulting in a legislative framework mandating Government to mainstream sustainable development in its policies.

The Sustainable Development Act also establishes other bodies, such as the Guardian of Future Generations and the Sustainable Development Network, which aim at fostering exchange of views and national dialogue as well as overseeing the implementation of sustainable development in Malta.

The Act was amended by virtue of Act No. I of 2019 with the aim of fostering increased participation of civil society as well as that of all social actors in mainstreaming sustainable development.

Given that the first Sustainable Development Strategy had a timeline that extended till the year 2016 the Maltese Government embarked on a process to develop a new Sustainable Development Strategy.

A Vison Document that characterises the foundations upon which the new Sustainable Development Strategy will be underpinned was published for consultation in September 2018.

Type of SD strategy

Malta’s Sustainable Development Vision for 2050 sets out the Maltese Government’s aspirations and priorities for mainstreaming sustainable development up till the year 2050. It aligns with the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whilst also takes into account other developments at an international and EU level.

Malta’s Sustainable Development Vision for 2050 aligns with the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) whilst also takes into account other developments at an international and EU level.

Vision 2050 has been structured and designed on the following key normative governance principles for steering sustainable development:

  1. Enhancing Economic Growth
  2. Safeguarding Our Environment
  3. Social Cohesion and Wellbeing
Lead ministry/institution in the SD strategy process

Ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister (Responsible for Sustainable Development, Social Dialogue and the Implementation of Electoral Manifesto)

From 2013 till 2019 the Competent Authority for mainstreaming sustainable development in Malta was entrusted to the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change.

Link to the SD strategy document
Further information about the SD strategy process

The Maltese Government recognises that sustainable development is not only confined to the workings of Government but calls for consensus from diverse sectors of the Maltese society, including civil society and the private sector. In drafting of key development documents, the Maltese Government ensures that the process is open and inclusive as possible, and that the vision of the future of Malta reflects the vision of its citizens. This was safeguarded through public and sectoral consultations as well as through existing national stakeholder engagement mechanisms.

[Links to the consultation process forthcoming]

Agenda 2030 Implementation

In implementing the Agenda 2030, Malta shall follow the following approach:

1)      National Sustainable Development Strategy

Malta’s national Sustainable Development Strategy sets out Malta’s themes and principles for achieving sustainable development. These themes reflect the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainability, and are closely aligned with the SDGs.

2)      Mainstreaming the SDGs

The mainstreaming of sustainable development principles as outlined in the Sustainable Development Act (2012) within Government’s policies, plans, programmes and projects is paramount in ensuring coherence. By adopting a sustainable development mind-set in the workings of Government, we can ensure that all Entities and Departments are working in unison and towards a single goal.

In this regard, Malta is adopting a ‘whole-of-government’ approach, which means that every Ministry will have a role in implementing the Goals. Government will also be mainstreaming the SDGs across all policy areas. This means that new policies will reflect Malta’s commitments with regard to the SDGs, and that when policies are reviewed the SDGs will be taken into consideration. An important first step in this mainstreaming process is mapping existing national policies against the SDGs.

3)      Integrating the SDG’s into the National Budgeting Process

The commitment of Malta to align its budget measures with SDGs was announced by the Prime Minister in September 2019, whereby the Maltese Government expressed its commitment to ensure that, as of Budget 2020, the measures therein will be aligned to SDGs.

The SD Proofing of the national budget process improves overall policy coherence, which reinforces the very nature of the SDGs as being overarching and intertwined. A coherent budget avoids conflicts between different resource allocations, and sees that budgets are in line with other EU and international commitments,

The aims behind the SDG alignment which will be conducted annually are to:

i)       Strengthen and consolidate the planning process by Ministries through the integration of the SDGs in the planning phases of a policy, programme, project or initiative;

Establish milestones in Action Plans, through which Ministries will be expected to contribute towards mainstreaming sustainable development practices whilst also addressing SDGs Indicators.

Leading Ministry and respective unit

Ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister (Responsible for Sustainable Development, Social Dialogue and the Implementation of Electoral Manifesto)

Sustainable Development Directorate

Other ministries involved

Ministry for Finance

National Statistics Office

Main contact point for the implementation process

George Said

Email: george.said@gov.mt

Tel: +356 22001458

Links to main websites/documents on national implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs

Links forthcoming.

Voluntary National Reviews

Malta was part of the 2018 Voluntary National Review of the High Level Political Forum which meets each year under the auspices of the UN.

Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

Sustainable development is not only confined to the workings of Government but calls for consensus from diverse sectors of the Maltese society, including local councils and civil society.

The Sustainable Development Act, Cap. 521 which was adopted in 2012 establishes constituted bodies, such as the Guardian of Future Generations and the Sustainable Development Network, which aim at fostering exchange of views and national dialogue as well as overseeing the implementation of sustainable development in Malta.

The Guardian of Future Generations is established by Article 8 of the Sustainable Development Act, Chap. 521, with the aim to safeguard inter-generational and intra-generational sustainable development in Malta. The Act stipulates that the Guardian shall convene at least every quarter, and is mandated to:

a)    promote sustainable development advocacy across national policy making, legislation and practices;

b)    develop a scientific research network that could positively contribute towards the sustainability of society;

c)    develop audits of various areas or sectors which are deemed to contribute towards sustainable development;

d)    propose goals and actions to government entities of them to take up in order to contribute towards the goal on sustainable development;

e)    permeate concepts of sustainable development within the private sector;

f)    encourage the participation of non-governmental organisations in sustainable development advocacy;

g)    consider requests from the public as to policy matters which can positively contribute to sustainable development;

h)    to request any government entity to provide data or information or to collect data or information about any topic that could have a bearing on sustainable development;

i)     foster sustainable development principles and actions across Maltese society; and

j)     direct the focus of the competent authority to safeguard future generations.

The Act was amended by virtue of Act No. I of 2019 with the aim of fostering increased participation of civil society as well as that of all social actors in mainstreaming sustainable development.

In order to widen the span of influence of the Guardian of Future Generations, the composition of the Commission has been amended by virtue of Act No. I of 2019 to recognise all voluntary organisations as contributing towards the sustainable development agenda whilst also ensuring that the environmental dimension, being the third pillar of sustainable development is duly recognised.

The Sustainable Development Network is established by Article 8 of the Sustainable Development Act, Chap. 521 with the aim of promoting sustainable development in Malta. The Network’s function is to encourage sustainable development knowledge and practices widely.

The Network shall be made up of:

a)    a chairperson appointed by the Prime Minister;

b)    a  deputy  chairperson  appointed  by  the Minister;

c)    the Sustainable Development Coordinators responsible for economic, social and environmental issues;

d)    a person from the Non-Governmental Organisations sector having knowledge of and experience in environmental matters appointed by the Minister;

e)    a person with knowledge of, and experience in, commerce, economy and industry appointed by the Minister following consultations with the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development;

f)    a person with knowledge of, and experience in, social and community affairs appointed by the Minister following consultations with the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development.

In order to widen the span of influence of the Sustainable Development Network, the composition of the Commission has been amended by virtue of Act No. I of 2019 to mandate the Sustainable Development Network with the setting up of a number of sub-committees that can promote the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and that shall consist of representatives of the social partners, actors and those with a specific interest in the area. This with a view to have economic, social and environmental committees populated by the economic, social and environmental partners such that they may feed into the deliberations of the network itself and the link with their representative on the Network and vice versa.

Local Councils in Malta also have a crucial role to play in translating national polices into tangible practical actions that can help to concretise the sustainable development objectives into our individual and communities’ behaviours. They can assist in raise awareness amongst the local communities on the sustainable development process and how it can improve their quality of life and the wider environment.

EU linkages

Malta’s Sustainable Development Policy Framework takes into account EU sectoral priorities and agreed commitments.

Horizontal Integration

The Ministry within Office of the Prime Minister has overall responsibility for promoting sustainable development, and for overseeing its coherent implementation across Government. However, ownership by the various Ministries is essential.

In this sense, the Sustainable Development Act, establishes a mechanism for horizontal coordination, provides for a system of coordination across the Public Administration. It designates the highest officials in each Ministry (i.e. the Permanent Secretaries) as Sustainable Development Coordinators and also provides for a Sustainable Development Focal Point in every Government department, agency or entity. The Focal Points shall be the Director responsible for Policy Development and Programme Implementation and the Head of each Government agency or entity.

Review

By virtue of Article 14 of the Sustainable Development Act, Cap. 521, the Competent Authority is also responsible for compiling a yearly report delineating the policies and measures implemented by the Maltese Government to mainstream Sustainable Development across all areas.

This report is then presented to Parliament by the responsible Minister with the aim to continue raising awareness on sustainable development. The yearly report is an important source as it gives accountability on the progress achieved in the field of sustainable development while serving as a guideline on the areas which would need to be improved.

As from 2017 onwards, the activities and measures undertaken by the Government are being integrated with the Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are goals that Malta along with other countries has committed itself to implement and achieve by 2030.

Indicators

Malta’s progress against each SDG is measured using European Union (EU) agreed indicators.

Participation

To implement and achieve a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fairer future for the Maltese citizens, Malta’s Sustainable Development framework is underpinned by the Sustainable Development Act, Cap. 521 delineating clear assignments of responsibilities and Inter-Ministerial Coordination across Government.

Bodies, such as the Guardian of Future Generations and the Sustainable Development Network established by the Sustainable Development Act, Cap. 521 aim at fostering exchange of views and national dialogue as well as overseeing the implementation of sustainable development in Malta.

The Maltese Government is also committed to provide opportunities for meaningful participation in partnership with key stakeholders on sector-specific issues, including the private sector, civil society, as well as the general public. This is achieved through public and sectoral consultations as well as public events held annually as part of the European Sustainable Development Week and on an ad hoc basis.

Subnational Activities

The important role of NGOs in pushing forward the sustainable development agenda has always been recognised. NGOs through their activities are contributing in the planning of economic, social and environmental policies. Such input is essential to move forward and change challenges into opportunities for further social cohesion while ensuring a higher and more dignified standard of living for all members of Maltese society.

In this regard, in 2017 the Sustainable Development Fund was set up for voluntary and non-governmental organisations which are actively involved in different economic, social and environmental areas and which through their work these organisations contribute to the aim of reaching the SDGs. The first call for project proposals was issued on 13 November 2017. This fund helps to ensure responsibility so that everyone’s decisions and actions lead to Sustainable Development including the civil society.