Malta's Second National Communication - May 2010

Introduction

The creation of a National Communication offers countries the opportunity to contribute with technically sound studies and information that can be used for designing mitigation and adaptation measures, and project proposals that can and will help increase their resilience to the impacts of climate change. Activities generally include: V&A assessments, Greenhouse Gas Inventory preparation, Mitigation Analysis or Education, and awareness raising activities.The ultimate goal is the integration of climate change considerations into relevant social, economic and environmental policies and actions.

The Maltese islands are expected to experience a decrease in the natural water resources due to climate change. Adaptation measures are necessary to alleviate stress on the natural water resources and to mitigate flood water damage. A concerted effort is necessary to reduce water demand by promoting water efficient devices, use of alternative water sources for activities that can be satisfied by non-potable supplies and careful aquifer monitoring, coupled with carefully drafted conservation policy.

Project Details

The Maltese islands are expected to experience a decrease in the natural water resources due to climate change. Adaptation measures are necessary to alleviate stress on the natural water resources and to mitigate flood water damage. A concerted effort is necessary to reduce water demand by promoting water efficient devices, use of alternative water sources for activities that can be satisfied by non-potable supplies and careful aquifer monitoring, coupled with carefully drafted conservation policy.

For Malta, climatic changes will affect the environment and, consequently, socioeconomic activities. Expected impacts include:

  • deterioration of potable water supplies and quality;
  • more frequent extreme weather events;
  • changes in soil erosion and an accentuated desertification process;
  • threats to public health;
  • changes in sea water mass characteristics and effects on fish stocks;
  • sea level rise, leading to coastal erosion and inundation;
  • reduced biodiversity;
  • moderate to moderately high economic vulnerability.

According to the First National Communication of Malta to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Malta is committed to honouring obligations in respect of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol and, as an EU member state, will be obliged to develop the capacity for reporting, monitoring and verifying greenhouse gas emissions.

Malta’s National Action Plan consists of a set of adaptation and mitigation measures that takes in to consideration their particular environmental vulnerabilities. The National Action Plan recognises that the challenge of climate change must be shared equitably by all sectors and needs to be faced by adopting clear criteria that include:

  • a commitment in favour of sustainable development;
  • a disposition to maximise economic efficiency by implementing cost-effective measures;
  • a broad range of policies and measures tailored specifically to all relevant sectors with the intention of achieving emission reductions across all economic sectors;
  • a recognition of the specific arrangements and special requirements that pertain to a small island state;
  • generating an impetus for early action by adopting a phased approach that allows for immediate actions while planning for longer term provisions;
  • a vigorous and appropriate pursuit of common and coordinated policies and measures implemented at EU and wider international levels.
Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Primary Beneficiaries: 
Through improved identification of national circumstances, government agencies and other actors will increase their abilities to insulate at risk urban and rural populations from the adverse effects of climate change.
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Government of Malta
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Project Status: 
Completed
Location: 
Urban
Funding Source: 
Financing Amount: 
420,000
Co-Financing Total: 
410,000

Key Results and Outputs

  • Sustainable development and the integration of climate change concerns into medium- and long-term planning
  • Inventories of anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases
  • Measures contributing to addressing climate change
  • Research and systematic observation
  • Climate change impacts, adaptation measures and response strategies
  • Education, training and public awareness

Potential Adpation Measures:

Power generation:

  • increase in efficiency of electrical generating plant by using combined cycle gas turbines instead of steam turbines;
  • switch to natural gas as the main fuel instead of heavy fuel and gas/diesel oil;
  • implementation of renewable energy technology;
  • use of combined heat and power plant and integration of renewable energy sources;
  • reduction of SO2 emissions by use of low-sulphur fuel;
  • power factor correction for major users;
  • introduction of modern technology to improve energy efficiency and conservation;
  • increase awareness of energy efficient devices by using energy labelling systems.

Transport:

  • improvement of traffic management;
  • creation of suitable parking schemes and major improvements in public transport to encourage reduction of car use;
  • installation of three-way catalysers on unleaded petrol vehicles and enforcement of emission regulations;
  • introduction of alternative fuels, principally hydrogen;
  • introduction of hybrid and electric traction.

Water resources:

  • improvement of demand-side management to limit water consumption;
  • use of alternative water sources for activities that can be satisfied by non-potable supplies;
  • creation of an awareness campaign on efficient use of water;
  • introduction of enforcement measures and revision of water tariffs on the basis of use;
  • reduction of water leakage by detection, meter repair/maintenance and pressure management systems;
  • curtailment of illegal groundwater extraction, monitoring and assessing the impacts of sea level rise in order to preserve the aquifer;
  • adoption of an integrated storm water management plan that comprises a flood mitigation system and improved methods of harnessing storm water;
  • use of treated effluent in industry and agriculture outside the groundwater protection zone;
  • improvement of irrigation techniques.

Liquid waste management:

  • encouragement of on-site treatment of sewage and reuse of treated effluent by major consumers of water;
  • reduction of load on the sewerage system by restraining water consumption and eliminating illegal water discharges;
  • operation of the sewerage system under aerobic conditions;
  • introduction of tariffs for sewage disposal on the basis of water consumption;
  • separate treatment of liquid waste resulting from animal husbandry and other problematic (e.g. saline) liquid waste;
  • implementation of the provisions of the Sewerage Master Plan for Malta and Gozo in respect of sewage treatment.

Solid waste management:

  • capturing and utilisation of methane resulting from treatment of solid waste;
  • replacement of existing uncontrolled landfills with engineered landfills;
  • upgrade of existing and development of additional recycling facilities;
  • separation of waste at source;
  • reduction of biodegradable waste by encouraging reduced consumption;
  • banning disposal of slaughterhouse and fish-farming residues into landfills and upgrading of the incineration facilities for abattoir waste.

Agriculture:

  • adaptation and diversification of crop species through selection of drought tolerant varieties and introduction of salt tolerant crop varieties and by making wider use of greenhouse controlled cultivation;
  • reduction of soil erosion through practice of minimum tillage, stubble crop retention, construction of windbreaks and rubble wall maintenance;
  • employment of soil improvement techniques, such as the addition of compost, to control salinisation and improve water retention, together with the adoption of xeriscaping for embellishment;
  • afforestation of abandoned land by drought tolerant and heat resistant tree species;
  • combating inundation, loss/degradation of land and coastal erosion resulting from sea level rise by building/ adapting adequate protective structures;
  • protection of special biota, habitats and biodiversity from sea level rise by facilitating natural landward migration of shore zone patterns.

Industry:

  • implementation of regulatory instruments;
  • development of financial and market based instruments with which Government may stimulate cleaner production methods;
  • formulation and adoption of a code of good practice by local industry in relation to environmental issues;
  • creation of an awareness campaign on environmental responsibilities aimed at industrialists.

Health:

  • preparation and implementation of a hot weather contingency plan;
  • formulation of industry specific guidelines for working in hot climatic conditions;
  • identification of persons at risk and establishment of communication channels;
  • information gathering and analysis (including epidemiological studies) followed by dissemination of the resulting conclusions;
  • creation of awareness and education campaigns aimed at sensitising the general public to health risks and protective measures associated with adverse effects of climate change
  • enhancement of resources in primary health care and health surveillance in areas where climate change poses the most severe threats to human health.

Reports and Publications

Monitoring and Evaluation

In 1992, countries joined an international treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to cooperatively consider what they could do to limit average global temperature increases and the resulting climate change, and to cope with whatever impacts were, by then, inevitable.

Parties to the Convention must submit national reports on implementation of the Convention to the Conference of the Parties (COP). The required contents of national communications and the timetable for their submission are different for Annex I and non-Annex I Parties. This is in accordance with the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" enshrined in the Convention.

The core elements of the national communications for both Annex I and non-Annex I Parties are information on emissions and removals of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and details of the activities a Party has undertaken to implement the Convention. National communications usually contain information on national circumstances, vulnerability assessment, financial resources and transfer of technology, and education, training and public awareness.

Since 1994, governments have invested significant time and resources in the preparation, collection and validation of data on GHG emissions, and the COP has made determined efforts to improve the quality and consistency of the data, which are ensured by established guidelines for reporting. Non-Annex I Parties receive financial and technical assistance in preparing their national communications, facilitated by the UNFCCC secretariat.

Contacts

UNDP
Yamil Bonduki
Coordinator, National Communications Support Programme (NCSP)
Charles V. Sammut
Project Affiliate