Delivered by H.E. MR. JOSE HERRERA, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development & Climate Change of Malta.
Mr President, Ambassadors, Distinguished Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure and honour to be able to address you at this important occasion of our global environmental gathering.
I would like to start by expressing Malta’s solidarity with the victims and families of the plane crash.
We have now arrived at a stage where we are fully recognising that economic growth cannot be sustainable if it is achieved at the expense of social progress and environmental protection. We need to ensure that Government’s policies, strategies and initiatives are guided by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Establishing an ambitious and long-term sustainability policy is key for progress. And this is what the Maltese Government is doing through the development of new Sustainable Development Strategy with a horizon up to 2050.
Sustainable production and consumption are a prerequisite for a sustainable and prosperous future, for all the world’s people. Despite its avid limitation in relation to size and topography, Malta continuously seek to continue its transition towards a more circular economy to develop sustainably.
Cognisant of the efforts required, the Maltese Government is currently finalising legal provisions to introduce the notion of circular economy in our legislations. The provisions will emphasise Government’s duty to foster the transition towards, and the subsequent growth and development of circular economy. It also enshrines a duty of the citizens, to as much as possible, ensure that in all activities partaken, efforts are made to minimise waste generation and that any waste produced does not harm or is a hazard to health of the environment.
Other initiatives that are in the pipeline include a Strategy on Single-use Plastics, which will be published in 2019. This strategy will aim at promoting better sustainable consumption patterns. These will be complemented by various other sectoral policy frameworks such as the regulation of commercial waste and the separate collection of pharmaceutical waste.
The time is very much now for taking concrete action! The longer we wait, the more expensive it will be for our economy to re-adjust.
Small economies have limited economies of scale and this results in limited investments by private firms in R&D. The Maltese Government is addressing this through various incentives for the promotion and expansion of industry and the development of innovative enterprises.
Being the largest consumer, Government plays a key role in the market. Hence the Maltese Government launched the Second Green Public Procurement Action Plan. This confirms the Government’s intention to lead by example. In doing so it is hoped that the private sector will follow suit and shift its procurement towards greener practices.
The financial sector has a key role to play in this much needed transition. The strong reliance between the two is becoming even more evident over the years. Indeed, Malta has undertaken a study to assess those green financial instruments to incentivise more take up of greener and more sustainable production and consumption patterns.