Together with Mare Nostrum Project partner Anna Spiteri of IRMCo, Maltese environmental NGO Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA) recently held the Forum for the South, a ground-breaking event addressing development on the southern coast of the island nation and developing a vision for the area.
“The South is at a crossroads and has this one-off opportunity to get things right rather than repeating the mistakes of the past. The South of Malta needs a new, fresh, planning approach. It is imperative that the well-being of local communities becomes a priority through holistic planning that includes residents’ health and the local economy as well as respect for the existing natural and built heritage,” wrote Anna Spiteri and Astrid Vella in an opinion piece announcing the forum.
Spiteri said the Forum was a “great success”, drawing over 80 participants and sustainability experts, and garnering coverage and exposure of the Mare Nostrum Project in the local media. One Maltese commentator noted that the event came on the heels of the proposed development of three hotels on Malta’s southern coast, which he called “yet another notch on the increasing tally of irresponsible development proposals being bandied around for the south of the island […].”
At the Forum, Spiteri discussed the rationale and advantages of a 100-meter coastal setback strip free of development, which she said would help slow the natural erosion of coastal ecosystems, help maintain public access to natural recreational open spaces by preventing excessive “artificialisation” along the coast, assist in adapting coastal zones to climate change by protecting populations against the risks of rising sea levels and erosion and reducing pressure on ecosystems already under considerable threat, and contribute to protecting biodiversity in an extremely fragile environment.
She noted that though Malta signed the Barcelona Protocol, which includes a provision for a setback zone at least 100 meters wide, “Malta is one of the very few countries in the Mediterranean that has not established a 100 metres legal setback. Why?”
Spiteri also presented the Grand Harbour charter, Local Communities’ Charter for Liveable cultural landscapes in our Grand Harbour, formulated in the context of the Mare Nostrum Project., as a “prime example” of local communities formulating solutions to their own environmental concerns. The Charter advocates the safeguarding of public spaces, and has been signed by six local councils and various NGOs.Leave a reply →