Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
Target 1: More than 55% of Maltese citizens are aware of the term “biodiversity”, know what it means and also know what steps they can take to conserve and use biodiversity in a sustainable manner . ()
This national target was set up to ensure that people know the meaning of the term "biodiversity" and are aware of ways to use it in a sustainable manner.
Target 2: The values of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and the opportunities derived from their conservation and sustainable use, are recognised and integrated in national policies (including national accounting, as appropriate), as well as decision-making and planning processes. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that the values of ecosystems and their services are recognised and incorporated in the national policy and relevant decision-making processes.
Target 3: Positive incentives for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are increasingly promoted. Malta cooperates in efforts to address environmentally harmful subsidies. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that positive incentives for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity are increasingly promoted and utilised by various stakeholders.
Target 4: Main sectors that are beneficiaries of ecosystem services have incorporated biodiversity concerns into their sectoral and cross-sectoral plans, policies and programmes, as appropriate. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that biodiversity concerns are mainstreamed across all main sectors as well as Government policies and programmes.
Target 5: The rate of loss of natural and semi-natural habitats of conservation value is at least halved, and degradation and fragmentation is significantly reduced. The percentage cover of “forests and semi-natural areas” has not decreased below the CORINE land cover data of 2006. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that natural and semi-natural habitats are conserved and their degradation is significantly reduced.
Target 6: Pressure on vulnerable ecosystems through overexploitation of biological resources is reduced by adopting sustainable practices. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that pressure on vulnerable ecosystems is reduced by adopting sustainable practices.
Target 7: Areas under agriculture and aquaculture are managed sustainably, ensuring the conservation of biodiversity. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that areas used for agriculture and aquaculture are managed in a sustainable manner.
Target 8: The implementation of effective measures to address pollution (including from excess nutrients) in line with the requirements of established legislation, is showing signs of a decreasing trend in current pollution levels, where feasible. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that pollution from various sources is addressed in line with the requirements of established legislation.
Target 9: Measures are in place to prevent, in so far as practical, the introduction and establishment of new invasive non-native species, while those that are established are identified and prioritised for eradication or control, where feasible. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that new introductions of invasive alien species are prevented, while those that are already established are identified and prioritised for eradication or control.
Target 10: Malta's 13% land area covered by terrestrial Natura 2000 sites is maintained, and Malta's sufficiency in the designation of key marine biodiversity areas is improved through a representative network of marine protected areas. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that terrestrial and marine protected areas are maintained and managed sufficiently.
Target 11: The risk of local extirpation of known threatened species has been reduced, with 30% of the species of European Community Importance in the Maltese territory having a favourable or improved conservation status. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that the risk of local extirpation of known threatened species is reduced as much as possible.
Target 12: The status of crop and livestock genetic diversity in agricultural ecosystems and of wild relatives has been safeguarded and improved, where feasible. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that genetic diversity important for food and agriculture is conserved and enhanced, when possible.
Target 13: Vulnerable ecosystems that provide essential services are safeguarded, with at least 15% of degraded ecosystems restored, while 20% of the habitats of European Community Importance in the Maltese territory have a favourable or improved conservation status. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that the most vulnerable ecosystems are safeguarded and restored in cases when needed.
Target 14: The impacts of climate change on ecosystems have been reduced, in so far as feasible and, mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change that support and conserve biodiversity have been agreed and are being implemented. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that the negative impacts of climate change on ecosystems are addresses and minimised in a timely manner.
Target 15: Access to national genetic resources is regulated through a National Regime on Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS). ()
This national target was set up to ensure that access to genetic resources is regulated through an appropriate National Regime.
Target 16: Malta is implementing an effective and participatory national biodiversity strategy and action plan (NBSAP). ()
This national target was set up to ensure that Malta's National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2012-2020 is implemented efficiently and progress is tracked accordingly.
Target 17: The contribution of local communities/entities to the sustainable management of biodiversity is recognised and enhanced. ()
This national target was set up to ensure that local communities are engaged in sustainable management of biodiversity and their valuable contribution is acknowledged.
Target 18: Knowledge, the science base and technologies relating to biodiversity, its values, functioning, status and trends, and the consequences of its loss, are improved and applied. ()
This national target was set up to address existing gaps in scientific knowledge of biodiversity status and trends.
Target 19: Capacity for national implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, other related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) and EU obligations, has increased from current levels. ()
Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets
GR1: Distinct plant and animal genetic resources for food and agriculture (i.e. local livestock breeds and crop varieties, as well as wild relatives/landraces) are conserved as a genetic insurance in the face of environmental and climate risks as well as for food security. This is mainly achieved via the uptake of appropriate agri-environmental measures to support genetic diversity in agriculture.
Conservation operations supported under this measure concern one or more of the following actions:
- actions promoting ex situ and in situ conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture. This includes web-based inventories of genetic resources currently conserved in situ/on-farm conservation as well as ex situ collections (gene banks) and databases.
- actions promoting the exchange of information for the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture, among competent organisations in EU Member States.
- information, dissemination and advisory actions involving non-governmental organisations and other relevant stakeholders, training courses and the preparation of technical reports as a result of (1 or 2).
Through the implementation of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, the Government aims to encourage farmers to implement measures including sustainable use of pesticides, resulting in protection of biodiversity, local ecosystems, water and public health. In order to aid the implementation of such action, focused training courses will be organised to improve farmers’ knowledge and promote good practice. Such courses aim to improve agronomic practices such as crop rotation, tillage practices, use of fertilisers, irrigation, use of ecological infrastructure to manage plant pests and to promote alternative methods to using chemicals.
As a part of the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 Malta has allocated €18 million for Sustainable Livestock to ensure availability of funds for young farmers starting agricultural holding for the first time. Additionally, a young farmer apprenticeship scheme is envisaged to support young people not from traditional farming backgrounds to move and start a career in the farming sector.
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy is another strategic document, which includes agri-environmental measures. One of the action states that: “(55) The Department of Agriculture will work with appropriate stakeholders to study and recommend how local breeds and crop varieties together with new species and hybrids could play an important role in agricultural adaptation.”
Another project funded under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) called "Study and Sustainable Conservation of Varieties of Plants" is an initiative of the Plant Protection Directorate. The project targets include the following elements:
- Increase in the importance and awareness of fruit sectors;
- Increase in the efficiency of the local nursery sector to satisfy the high demand for plant propagation material, in terms of quantity and quality;
- Control of the incessant introduction from abroad of new varieties, which are gradually substituting the local germplasm;
- Intervention for safeguarding of the local fruit producing plant’s germplasm through its conservation and, where necessary, its enhancement by clonal selection programmes and utilisation through certification programmes;
- Minimisation of risks relating to the introduction of dangerous quarantine pests in the Maltese Islands.
The status of implementation of the measure has been identified based on the outcome from conducted stakeholder consultation and expert opinion.
The localisation and identification of crop landraces and heirloom varieties was a main obstacle encountered during the projects titled Study and Sustainable Conservation of Varieties of Local Plants and the Sharing Seeds, Sharing Life (mentioned under measure GR2), since owners of genetic resources showed reluctance in sharing their knowledge with third parties. Moreover, the scientific literature on local agriculture is insufficient. Therefore, officials need to rely to farmers that have excellent knowledge of autochthonous crops and trees varieties.