Tuesday, 18 August 2020
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.
Malta’s Sustainable Development Policy Framework takes into account EU sectoral priorities and agreed commitments.