To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.

The 5th national reports were examined, and relevant information on selected actions under Targets 1-6 of the EU biodiversity strategy was directly copied. Thus, the information presented here is in the original language and wording of the 5th national reports.

The focus was on information that is particular to the respective Member State rather than referencing EU wide information. In addition, only information that is not directly reported to the European Commission by Member States was retrieved from the reports. Each Member State had the opportunity to review the synthesis of its report and to provide additional input. For more information, please view here. The 5th national report for Malta can be downloaded here.

In addition to the country synthesis which is shown below, Malta provided information on the cross-linkages between their national strategy and the European and global biodiversity targets.

EU target 1

Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives

(Please note that information from Member States in relation to Action 1a is supplied to the European Commission via other reports. To avoid duplication of reporting, information relating to Action 1a has not been included in this report)

Action 1b: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Current mainstreaming of biodiversity considerations in the National Environment Policy, and in policies adopted by key sectors that are beneficiaries of ecosystem services and that may also act as drivers of biodiversity change.

Aspects of mainstreaming are included in the following Malta’s NBSAP Measures addressing the sectors:

  • Agriculture & Rural Development – NBSAP Measures GR1, NR1, NR2, NR3, NR4, PC2, PC3, SI2 and SI3;
  • Aquaculture – NBSAP Measures PC3 and SI4;
  • Fisheries – NBSAP Measures SH5, BR2, and PC3;
  • Hunting - NBSAP Measures SH5, BR5, PC3, and EF4;
  • Energy – NBSAP Measure SI7;
  • Spatial Planning – NBSAP Measures EN2, EN3, NR2, EF3, EA1, EA2, SI5, and SI6;
  • Landscaping – SH8, BR1, and CB3;
  • Waste – NBSAP Measure SI9;
  • Tourism – NBSAP Measure SI8;
  • Water – NBSAP Measures NR4, NR5, and NR6;
  • Businesses – NBSAP Measures BE1 and BE2;
  • Financing & Accounting - NBSAP Measures BE3 and FB2;
  • Trade - NBSAP Measures BR3 and BR4;
  • Climate Change – NBSAP Measures CC1 and CC4; and
  • Risk Prevention and Preparedness – NBSAP Measure SI10.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption as well as considerations of biodiversity issues are increasingly being integrated in sectoral policies that benefit from ecosystem services, such as the provision of food and other natural resources, including supporting services, such as relevant to the fisheries and agriculture sectors.

Data links:

National Environment Policy: [to be updated by the Member State]

National Strategy on Adaptation for Climate Change:

RDP 2014-2020:

Aquaculture Strategy for the Maltese Islands – Towards Sustainability:

National Tourism Policy 2012-2016: [to be updated by the Member State]

Waste Management Plan for the Maltese Islands – A resource Management Approach (2014-2020):

Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development” (SPED) -

Action 1c: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Malta’s NBSAP Measures EN1, EN2, and EN6: Efforts have continued in line with NBSAP Measure EN1 to ensure that Malta’s National Ecological Network constitutes a comprehensive and ecologically representative national system of protected areas via the designation of additional marine protected areas, not to mention the three related LIFE+ projects which are expected to lead to the designation of further marine Natura 2000 sites, namely LIFE+ Seabirds (on marine IBAs and SPAs), LIFE+ Migrate (on marine SCIs for the loggerhead turtle and the bottlenose dolphin) and LIFE+ BAHAR (on marine SCIs for marine habitat types). The management planning process for all terrestrial Natura 2000 sites of the Maltese Islands has been completed through an EARDF funded project, which resulted in the preparation of a complement of 22 draft management plans and 8 draft conservation orders. The latter are specific legal instruments setting up the objectives and measures for Natura 2000 sites which do not require management plans due to their small size. The proposed Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) recognises the need to safeguard protected areas, strengthening the links within the ecological network and enabling activities aimed at enhancing management objectives under Thematic objective 8. Various governance types for the management of protected areas are in place, and it is expected that with the formal adoption of the management plans for protected areas, the range of governance types for long term management of protected areas is explored. This matter is also being considered in the structuring of the planned Environment and Resources Authority, aimed to be set up in 2015.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 10: Malta has maintained its 13% land area covered by terrestrial Natura 2000 sites and has designated four new marine protected areas in 2010. Additional designations in the marine environment will be subject to findings of ongoing LIFE projects (Life Bahar, Life Seabirds and LIFE Migrate).

Data links:

EAFRD Project on Natura 2000 :

LIFE Malta Seabird Project (LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090)

LIFE MIGRATE Project (LIFE11 NAT/MT/001070)

LIFE Bahar for N2K (LIFE12 NAT/MT/000845)

Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development” (SPED) -

Malta’s NBSAP Measure SH2 and NBSAP Target 11: Species of European Community and National Importance (which also include species protected in line with relevant Multilateral Environmental Agreements) are afforded protection via Legal Notice 311 of 2006, as amended and via Legal Notice 79 of 2006, as amended, which respectively transpose the EC Habitats and Birds Directives. The list of terrestrial species of Community importance found in Malta has been extended since the first assessment carried out in 2007 to two more species, these being pipistrelles - Pipistrellus pipistrellus and Hypsugo savii – two bat species which have recently been confirmed from Malta. Additionally, through new data, another bat species which was previously considered occasional is most probably found as a resident in small numbers, while being a migrant species; further information would be required to confirm this or otherwise. When comparing the assessments of 2007 with those of 2013, overall there is an increase of 20% of species being in a favourable conservation status, from 20 to 40%, when considering all of the species reported on. However, one should note that such positive increase is not necessarily a result of genuine changes in the status, but mostly due to more accurate data or due to the use of different thresholds. On the other hand, according to the findings of Malta’s latest report in line with Article 12 of the Birds Directive, 14 of the species/populations assessed had a positive population trend throughout both the short- and long-term interims (17 species/populations had positive populations trends during the short term trend, whilst 18 species/populations had positive population trends during the long term-trend).

Data links:

Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Regulations, 2006, as amended (Legal Notice 311 of 2006, as amended):

Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations, 2006, as amended (Legal Notice 79 of 2006, as amended):

Action 1d: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

The biogeographical process, among others, allows for the exchanging of experiences, development of management tools and promotion among stakeholders. This process will provide us with more relevant information and knowledge on how to adopt a uniform or common approach to certain issues related to the governance of Natura 2000 sites. Through this process EU Targets mainly those emanating from the Habitats and Birds Directive respectively will be achieved. These include the establishment of conservation objectives and measures for protected features, the assessment of the conservation status of the same and the inclusion of stakeholders in the management planning process. For terrestrial Natura 2000 sites, Malta has compiled management plans and conservation orders, as appropriate, that include these goals.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 10: See information provided above for this target.

Action 3a: Stakeholder awareness and enforcement

Malta’s NBSAP Measure PA3: The Natura 2000 Information Campaign was undertaken as part of the co-financed EAFRD Project completed in April 2014. As part of this project the website [to be updated by the Member State] was launched. Various Natura 2000 public exhibitions and talks were held consisting of a number of posters explaining the management planning process for Natura 2000 sites, presentation of leaflets and also a comments box. Moreover, a Facebook page entitled Natura 2000 Malta was also put up as part of the communication strategy, while a series of television and radio adverts were also aired during the implementation lifetime of the project. An interpretation manual for marine habitats has been compiled as part of the MedPAN North Project (under the Programme Med). Under this project, two underwater trails, one at Ghajn Tuffieha, and a second at Ramla tal-Mixquqa (popularly known as Golden Bay) were set up for use in Summer 2013. Through the same project, Malta has also assessed innovative financing opportunities for marine Natura 2000 sites.

Additional information on specific issues related to marine habitats and species and Natura 2000 were also covered by communications campaigns and related information under the LIFE+ Bahar projects.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 1: Several awareness-raising and educational initiatives are being undertaken at a national level by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), NGOs and schools. Such initiatives target the general public and more targeted audiences, such as local councils, children, and scout-groups. Initiatives comprise biodiversity tours in protected areas, TV educational programmes, educational programmes in schools, biodiversity talks and quizzes, as well as publication and distribution of popular material. According to the findings of the Eurobarometer survey undertaken in 2013, 28% of Maltese respondents knew what the term biodiversity was. This translates in a 10% increase from the 2010 survey, where only 18% of Maltese respondents knew what this term meant. In 2013 18% of Maltese heard of the Natura 2000 network and knew what this term means. In 2010 the statistics stood at only 9%, whilst in 2007 only 5% knew what Natura 2000 was. MEPA held biodiversity tours in selected protected areas during the years 2010, 2011, and 2012 with 7 tours held each year. Number of attendees increased from 100 persons in 2010 to 370 persons in 2012. 21 tours were held since 2010 which were attended by a total of approximately 820 persons. There has also been a steady increase in schools participating in EkoSkola, Dinja Wahda projects together with other related projects such as YRE/LEAF. Indeed during 2012/2013 100 schools participated in EkoSkola, 37 of which achieved the Green Flag status; 93 primary schools participated in Dinja Wahda, 45 of which achieved the Gold Award. A total of 130 local projects participated in the YRE initiatives with four participants achieving international awards.

Data links:

EAFRD Project on Natura 2000 :

MedPAN North Project:

LIFE MIGRATE Project (LIFE11 NAT/MT/001070)

LIFE Bahar for N2K (LIFE12 NAT/MT/000845)

Eurobarometer 2010 & 2013 surveys: AND

IBD Celebrations:

Dinja Wahda:


Biodiversity Tours in Protected Areas:

EU target 2

Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services

Malta’s NBSAP various measures: The element of restoration is covered by several measures in the NBSAP with respect to species, habitats, impact and threat mitigation, restoration of rural structures important as elements of green infrastructure (e.g. dry stone walls), and habitat restoration to increase resilience and adaptation to climate change. Such measures include but are not limited to: SH1, SH3, SH4, SH6, EN3, and CC2.

In March 2013, MEPA adopted ‘Guidelines on Managing Non-Native Plant Invaders and restoring Native Plant communities in terrestrial settings in the Maltese Islands’. A component of these Guidelines addresses what considerations to make when planning and implementing native species reintroduction or reinforcement programmes aimed at restoring plant communities. This guidance document integrates the guidelines on undertaking conservation translocations as adopted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at the end of 2012. Measures for the safeguard of key habitats (as well as priority species, including endemic ones) are included in management plans for protected areas and also addressed in the implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Marine Strategic Framework Directive (MSFD). Work on Malta’s prioritised restoration framework is currently based on the restoration targets set by Natura 2000 sites’ management plans.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 14: The PARK and Initiatives Directorate implements afforestation projects in various sites in order to create areas for habitat restoration, recreation and to contribute to a healthy environment. Management and restoration of habitats is integrated in the management plan framework for protected areas.

Data link:

Guidelines on Managing Non-Native Plant Invaders and restoring Native Plant communities in terrestrial settings in the Maltese Islands:

Malta’s NBSAP Measures NR3, NR4 and NR6: The Pesticides Framework Directive has been transposed by the “Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulations, 2011” (Legal Notice 489 of 2011). A National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides for Malta (2013-2018) has been developed as a strategy to minimise human and environmental health impacts resulting from the use of pesticides and as a requisite of the Directive. The Maltese Islands were designated as one whole Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, meaning that the measures outlined in the Nitrates Action Programme are mandatory for all farmers. The Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Climate Change coordinated the LIFE InfoNitrates Project (LIFE10 INF/MT/000092; project duration 01-SEP-2011 to 31-DEC -2013). The project aimed to communicate to Malta’s farmers and livestock breeders their key obligations under the Nitrates Action Plan.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 8: Measures included under the Nitrates Action Programme 2011 and the Water Catchment Management Plan 2011 (the former tackling agricultural sources, the latter dealing with agricultural, industrial and municipal sources) are currently being implemented. Nutrient monitoring under the Water Framework Directive and Nitrates Directive has also been carried out in 2012/2013. Under the latter eutrophication risk assessments in selected bays prone to nutrient enrichment have also been carried out. Malta’s national water policy is currently being updated. Preparation is also underway to compile the second Water Catchment Management Plan, and in so doing, fill those gaps identified by the comprehensive monitoring carried out in 2012/13 in coastal and protected inland surface waters. Malta, as part of its initial assessment in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, drew up a report on nutrient enrichment in the marine environment. This report provides a description of the levels of nutrients and the occurrence and effects of nutrient enrichment in Malta, with a view to determine status in terms of this pressure, in line with Article 8 of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. All effluents discharged to the marine environment require an environmental permit, which contains emission limit values for substances discharged into the water and all other environmental requirements, thus ensuring an integrated approach. The Aquaculture Strategy for Malta includes improved environmental monitoring that will ensure carrying capacity limits for each aquaculture area. This will provide clear Environmental Quality Standards (EQS) by which adverse impacts can be judged, and an Allowed Zone of Effects (AZE) over which such impacts can be allowed.

Data links:

Sustainable Use of Pesticides Regulations, 2011” (Legal Notice 489 of 2011):

National Action Plan for the Sustainable Use of Pesticides for Malta (2013-2018):

LIFE InfoNitrates Project (LIFE10 INF/MT/000092):

Nitrates Action Programme 2011:

Water Catchment Management Plan:

Malta’s Initial Assessment in line with the MSFD requirements:

Aquaculture Strategy for the Maltese Islands – Towards Sustainability:

Action 5: Knowledge of ecosystems and their services

Malta’s NBSAP Measures SH1 & BE3: The MAES exercise is integrated in the NBSAP Measure SH1. The ecosystem assessment exercise is expected to be initiated this year bearing in mind however existing and ongoing data gathering projects that may contribute to this exercise. At present, the National Statistics Office is producing data on environmental taxes, environmental protection expenditure and air emission accounts.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 2: Biodiversity and ecosystems are recognised as a long-term sustainability issue by the National Environment Policy adopted by the Government, where biodiversity is highlighted as a long-term sustainability issue and as one of the strengths in the SWOT analysis. One of the actions of the NEP is that based on the ecosystems approach, environmental change related to biodiversity will be reflected in national accounts and across sectors within the umbrella of green accounting.

Data link:

National Statistics Office:

National Environment Policy: [to be updated by the Member State]

Action 6a & 6b: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure

Malta’s NBSAP Measures EN4 and SI6, and SH7: Green infrastructure is addressed in measures EN4 and SI6 of Malta’s NBSAP in the context of resource and spatial planning. Certain elements of green infrastructure are protected via national legislation e.g. dry stone walls (otherwise known as rubble walls) which serve as an important ecological corridor and a refuge for a number of endangered terrestrial fauna are covered by the “Rubble Walls and Rural Structures (Conservation and Maintenance) Regulations (LN 160 of 1997, as amended)”. The restoration of rubble walls is recognised as a management measure for protected species, particularly reptiles (Article 12 of the Habitats Directive), the need to ensure coherence in Natura 2000 sites (Article 10 of the Habitats Directive), but also to reduce soil loss and erosion, water loss and to reduce desertification and land degradation. The conservation of important valley watercourses, another type of ecological corridor, is being addressed via the implementation of the Habitats Directive and through the scheduling of valley systems around Malta and Gozo thereby contributing toward their protection as natural hydrological pathways. Principles of connectivity through a green infrastructure are already adopted in Malta. For instance, connectivity is achieved in relation to the fact that the boundaries of certain protected areas overlap and protected areas are also accompanied by buffer zones. The Ghajnsielem Municipality as one of the Partners of the Interreg IVC Co-financed Green Infranet Project. GI proposals in the context of the Rural Development Programme for 2014-2020 will focus on several key areas ranging from water scarcity and conservation issues, climate change mitigation and adaptation whilst promoting resource efficiency and supporting the shift towards a low carbon economy.

NBSAP Measure SH7 deals with urban biodiversity but is also relevant to green infrastructure. “Greening the Community Initiative” was launched on 16 May 2014 by the Environment Minister. This is a government pilot project that shall allocate funds to four localities with the aim of providing larger green spaces and hence raise the quality of life for both the residents of these localities, as well as for visitors. The Structure Plan for the Maltese Islands of 1990 shall be replaced by the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED). The latter includes Urban Objective 3: To identify, protect and enhance the character and amenity of distinct urban areas by inter alia protecting and green open spaces, reducing soil sealing and supporting biodiversity with a view of developing ecological corridors. The University of Malta is participating in the LifeMedGreenRoof project (LIFE12 ENV/MT/000732; project duration: 01-JUL-2013 to 31-JUL-2017). The demonstration green roof on the University of Malta's Faculty for the Built Environment campus building will demonstrate the benefits of green roofs for meeting environmental and biodiversity targets.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 10: Malta has maintained its 13% land area covered by terrestrial Natura 2000 sites and has designated four new marine protected areas in 2010. Additional designations in the marine environment will be subject to findings of ongoing LIFE projects (Life Bahar, Life Seabirds and LIFE Migrate).

Data links:

Rubble Walls and Rural Structures (Conservation and Maintenance) Regulations (LN 160 of 1997, as amended):

Interreg IVC Co-financed Green Infranet Project: [to be updated by the Member State]

Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development” (SPED) -

LifeMedGreenRoof project (LIFE12 ENV/MT/000732):

Malta’s NBSAP Target 13: When considering terrestrial habitats of EU community importance found in Malta, there is an overall improvement in conservation status in 2013 when compared to 2007. When considering the marine habitat types, only 1 had been assessed in 2007 (as favourable); in 2013 all 4 marine habitat types were assessed, and all have been defined to have a favourable conservation status. Work on Malta’s prioritised restoration framework is currently based on the restoration targets set by Natura 2000 sites’.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 5: Malta has strong land use pressures and high land use intensity in view of its inherent small size, growing population and very high population density (highest in the EU). The island’s territory is 26 % artificialised and 13 % sealed. When comparing land cover data for the years 2006 and 2012, there has been no change for the following:

  • continuous urban fabric (CLC Code – 111) = 388.6 HA
  • discontinuous urban fabric (CLC Code – 112) = 6658.3 HA
  • industrial or commercial units (CLC Code 121) = 839.4 HA
  • port areas (CLC Code – 123) = 231.8 HA
  • airports (CLC Code – 124) = 371.8 HA
  • mineral extraction sites (CLC Code 131) = 358.6 HA
  • green urban areas (CLC Code – 141) = 181.1 HA
  • sport and leisure facilities (CLC Code – 142) = 216.7 HA
  • non-irrigated arable land (CLC Code – 211) = 121.6 HA
  • vineyards (CLC Code 221) = 56.5 HA
  • complex cultivation patterns (CLC Code – 242) = 1071.3 HA
  • land principally occupied by agriculture, with significant areas of natural vegetation (CLC Code – 243) = 14996.6 HA
  • coniferous Forest (CLC Code – 312) = 66.8 HA
  • mixed Forest (CLC Code – 313) = 143.0 HA
  • sparsely Vegetated Areas (CLC Code – 333) = 811.9 HA
  • salines (CLC Code – 422) = 25.1 HA
  • sea and Ocean (CLC Code 523) = 460941.1HA
  • There has been a change in the following:
  • dump sites (CLC Code – 132) = From 40.7 HA in 2006 to 61.3 HA in 2012 (+20.6 HA)
  • sclerophyllous vegetation (CLC Code 323) = From 4971.6 HA in 2006 to 4951.0 HA in 2012 (-20.6 HA).

The latter changes are due to the land fill classified area at Ghallis/Maghtab, which increased by approx 20.6Ha which in turn means that the surrounding area classified as sclerophyllous vegetation has decreased by the same amount. The CORINE Land Cover Data of 2006 for “forests and semi-natural areas” is 19.1%, while of 2012 is 18.9%.

67% (20 out of 30) of Annex I habitats of EU Community Importance in Malta are 75 – 100% covered by the Natura 2000 Network, whilst the remaining 33% (10 out of 30) are 25 – 75% covered. None of the habitats assessed is less than 25% covered by the network. This is the first time that this assessment has been done, and is considered to show positive results, also keeping in mind that Malta has a high degree of sufficiency when considering the designation of terrestrial Natura 2000 sites.

Data links:

European Commission (2011): Report on best practices for limiting soil sealing and mitigating its effects? Technical Report 2011-050. 229pp.

EU target 3

Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity

Target 3a: Agriculture

Malta’s NBSAP Measure NR1: Agriculture land, which is fully converted to organic farming totals 32.1804Ha, while 4.81Ha are in the conversion period from conventional to organic farming. There are currently 12 organic agricultural producers, 4 processors and 2 Importers. Harvested production of organic products amount to 20.3456 tons.

See also information provided on NBSAP Measures PC2, SI2 & SI3 below.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 7: In 2012, over 25% of the registered farmers had an agri-environmental measure commitment, with the total area under agri-environmental payments being 2,052.6ha. All farmers who have a Less Favoured Area commitment and or receive support under the direct aid are obliged to observe the cross compliance rules. These farmers amount to over 6000 farmers.

Action 9a & 9b: Rural development and biodiversity

Malta’s NBSAP Measures PC2, SI2 & SI3: Through measure PC2, Malta’s NBSAP calls for encouraging the positive and active role of Maltese farmers as stewards of agrobiodiversity and in the maintenance of the countryside and rural environment. This role is recognised and encouraged in Malta’s Rural Development Plan. Farmers are encouraged to maintain the agricultural land and avoid land abandonment through the less favoured measures. Farmers may go above the cross-compliance obligation and enter in a five year commitment under the agri-environmental measures. Under the RDP, farmers are also encouraged to receive advisory support through the use of the Farm Advisory Services (FAS). The NBSAP measures SI2 and SI3 respectively deal with the integration of biodiversity goals into future RDPs and compliance with Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) and Statutory Management Requirements (SMR) in line with EU and national legislation. The 2014-2020 RDP is the product of 2 years of consultation with stakeholders. Five priorities emerged, one of which was landscape and environment, which envisages agriculture supporting the environment as a public good. In this regard it supports farmers in carrying out measures that have a positive impact on the landscape and the environment. Malta’s RDP (2014-2020) takes into account Malta’s NBSAP and national biodiversity targets that are relevant to the issues addressed by the RDP. The following agri-environment-climate measures are proposed in the RDP (2014-2020):

  • AEM 1: Measure to control weeds in orchards and vineyards;
  • AEM 2: Measure for the planting of trees – Sub-measure A on support for the removal of invasive species with endemic and indigenous tree species; Sub-measure B on support for the planting of endemic and indigenous tree species on terraced fields and Sub-measure C on support for the control of Arundo donax in valley systems;
  • AEM 3: Measure supporting the introduction of bee boxes on holdings;
  • AEM 4: Measure for the implementation of an integrated pest management plan targeting vineyards and orchards;
  • AEM 5: Measure for the implementation of a soil management and conservation plan on a holding level
  • AEM 6: Measure for the integration and maintenance of autochthonous Maltese farm species –Sub-measure (A) on Maltese black chicken; Sub-measure (B) on Maltese rabbit “Tax-Xiber”; Sub-measure (C) on Maltese ox and Sub-measure (D) on holm oak, carob and mulberry.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 7: See information provided above for this target.

Data link:

Rural Development Programme:

Malta’s NBSAP Target 3: There are no Environmentally Harmful Subsidies in place in the current Rural Development Programme (RDP) for Malta, and no such measures are foreseen for the next RDP.

Action 10: Agricultural genetic diversity

Malta’s NBSAP Measure GR1: Malta’s Rural Development Plan (2007-2013) addressed agricultural biodiversity where mention was made of the loss/erosion of local genotypes through the introduction of modern varieties of livestock and plants. Similar information is also provided in the RDP (2014-2020). The RDP (2007-2013) included under Axis II the agri-environment measure: support for the conservation of genetic resources in agriculture (conservation of endangered breeds such as the Maltese ox, and endangered plant species Holm oak, ‘Bidnija’ and ‘Maltese’ olive varieties, all varieties of carob and mulberries, and citrus - oranges (sweet orange, sour orange, common orange, blood orange, navel orange, orange with a thin rind); lemons (sweet lemon, perpetual lemon); lime (sweet and non-sweet); mandarin; and grapefruit. Conservation-type operations (such as actions promoting the ex situ and in situ conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture, training courses etc.) were also offered support. When considering the RDP (2014-2020), the agri-environmental climate measures for Malta aim to enhance cultivation methods adapted to the environment and the features of landscapes, and specifically to enhance Maltese biodiversity and ecosystem services; promote water conservation and water quality improvement; and contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation principally by increasing efficiency of input use and improving soil management. Measures (6 in total, with 3 sub-measures for AECM 2, and 4 sub-measures for AECM 6) have been selected on the basis of performing multiple functions in an agro ecosystem context. All AEMs would have a positive impact on biodiversity, enhancing the countryside and promoting practices which work in harmony with our unique ecosystems. In overview, they will cover the following 8 goals: increasing the population of pollinators; enhancing soil conservation; supporting the control of invasive alien species; increasing tree cover and greening of landscapes; protecting and enhancing nature-rich valley systems; reducing contamination of water by pesticides and nutrients; supporting biological and mechanical pest control (in place of chemical methods) and promoting agricultural/genetic biodiversity conservation through support for rare, indigenous breeds of plants and livestock. As regards AEM 6 - Measure for the integration and maintenance of autochthonous Maltese species - the aim is to promote the protection, maintenance and enhancement of the autochthonous Maltese farm species. Its specific objectives are to encourage an increased level of awareness and responsibility amongst those farmers applying under this measure. This measure will aim at focusing on 3 species of livestock: the Maltese Ox, Maltese rabbit and the Maltese black chicken. In addition to the prior it will also provide support for Holm Oak/ Carob/ Mulberry.

The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy includes the action: 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.

The EAFRD project “The Study and Sustainable Conservation of Varieties of Plants” is an initiative of the Plant Health Directorate. The targets are the following:

  • An increase in the importance and awareness of fruit sectors;
  • An increase in the efficiency of the local nursery sector to satisfy the high demand for plant propagation material, in terms of quantity and quality;
  • The control of the incessant introduction from abroad of new varieties, which are gradually substituting the local germplasm;
  • Intervention for the safeguard of the local fruit producing plant’s germplasm through its conservation and, where necessary, its enhancement by clonal selection programs and utilisation through certification programmes;

Malta’s NBSAP Target 7: The total area of agricultural land under agri-environment schemes increased from 1831.0ha in 2011, to 2052.6ha in 2012.

Data links:

Rural Development Programme:

National Strategy on Adaptation for Climate Change:

Malta’s NBSAP Measure GR1: See the information provided above

Malta’s NBSAP Target 12: Under the current agri-environmental measures, farmers receive support for the conservation of ancient trees and local livestock breeds. Farmers are requested to keep and maintain these species and furthermore livestock breeders are recommended to increase the herd.

Action 11a & 11b: Forest holders and biodiversity

Malta’s NBSAP Measures SH2 and Target 5: The following forest-related habitats fall within the Natura 2000 network in Malta and are hence protected and covered by the management planning process for terrestrial sites:

92A0 - Salix alba and Populus alba galleries (U2= status in 2013);

92D0 - Southern riparian galleries and thickets (Nerio-Tamaricetea) (U1- status in 2013);

5230 - Arborescent matorral with Laurus nobilis (U1= status in 2013);

9320 - Olea and Ceratonia forests (FV status in 2013);

9340 - Quercus ilex forests (U1= status in 2013); and

9540 - Mediterranean pine forests with endemic Mesogean pines (U1= status in 2013).

Malta’s NBSAP Measure SH4: No specific habitat action plans have yet been drawn up. Nevertheless measures for the safeguard of key habitats (as well as priority species, including endemic ones) are included in management plans for protected areas and also addressed in the implementation of the WFD and MSFD.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 7: The national target does not include forestry since this is not practised in Malta. When considering CORINE land cover data (2006) the proportion of land area covered by forest is 0.2% coniferous forest and 0.5% mixed forest. This has remained as is in the context of the 2010 CLC data.

Data links:

EAFRD Project on Natura 2000 :

Natura 2000 in Malta: [to be updated by the Member State]

Action 12: Biodiversity in forest management plans

Malta’s NBSAP Measure CC4: This measure calls for forestation activities to take into account the Pan-European Guidelines for Afforestation and Reforestation. Afforestation areas in Malta include ‘Foresta 2000’ in Mellieha, Salina National Park, Ta’ Qali National Park, Xrobb l-Ghagin Park, rehabilitation of the closed Maghtab landfill and various other projects in conjunction with Local Councils, schools and other entities. In the period between 2004 and 2011 approximately 107,520 trees and shrubs where planted. Three afforestation projects on both public and private land have been undertaken as part of an Italia-Malta EU-funded project (Acronym: SIMBIOTIC). The Ministry responsible for the Environment has recently commissioned the development of a National Afforestation Plan. Forest-related habitats fall within the Natura 2000 network in Malta and are hence protected and covered by the management planning process for terrestrial sites.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 7: See information provided above

Data link:

National Afforestation Plan:

EU target 4

Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and ensuring good environmental status of the marine environment

Action 13a: Fish stock management

Malta’s NBSAP Measures BR2 and RD3: Data on fish populations is generated through the implementation of Malta’s National Fisheries Data Collection Programme (NFDCP) in line with EU’s Council Regulation 199/2008. The most relevant data for assessing fish populations is generated through the scientific surveys carried out as part of the Data Collection Framework namely the Mediterranean International bottom trawl survey (MEDITS) and the Pan-Mediterranean pelagic survey (MEDIAS). NBSAP Measure RD3 deals with cooperation in areas beyond national jurisdiction. In the fisheries sector, management plans have been implemented for certain types of fisheries in order to safeguard extraction beyond sustainable limits. Management Plans are based on scientific data in aid of achieving sustainable fishing activities. The “Implementation and Enforcement of Certain Fisheries Management Plans Order, 2013” (Legal Notice 354 of 2013) adopts the management plans for the Lampuki fishery, Lampara fishery and Bottom Trawling which were recently approved by the European Union.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 6: For the marine environment, pressure-targets were established for the purposes of the MSFD in relation to benthic habitats, seabirds and marine reptiles. For benthic habitats the focus is on minimising impacts from bottom-impacting activities, particularly trawling. The latter is being regulated through the adoption of Fisheries Management Plans by the Fisheries Department. Malta’s target on fisheries cross-refers to the measures adopted in such management plans. The mentioned Fisheries Management Plans lay down provisions to limit overfishing through gear selectivity, temporal closures and spatial limitations for specific gear such as trawling. This ensures that practices do not jeopardize any measures that safeguard sustainability. For seabirds, the focus is on minimising disturbance while for marine reptiles the proposed target relates to the collection of data on incidentally captured turtles with a view to provide sound information for management purposes.

Data links:

Implementation of the MSFD in Malta:

“Implementation and Enforcement of Certain Fisheries Management Plans Order, 2013” (Legal Notice 354 of 2013):

Action 14a & 14b: Adverse impacts on fish stocks, species, habitats and ecosystems

Malta’s NBSAP Measure SH5: In terms of incidental capture or by-catch, it should be noted that discards in Maltese fisheries are generally not significant mainly as a result of quotas being used up. Data on discards is currently collected for bottom otter trawlers targeting demersal species and for drifting longlines targeting large pelagic fish. The amount of discards generated by set longline fishery is negligible, so no discard information is collected for this fishery. Discards generated by the bottom otter trawl fishery mainly constitute commercial species, which were either below marketable size or too damaged to be sold. Discards generated by longlines are mainly non-commercial species, with discards of commercial species being negligible. The majority of the non-target by-catch of tuna longline fishery constitutes specimens of Caretta caretta, which in most cases are released in accordance with current legislation and are only landed for rehabilitation purposes. As part of the completed EU Life Yelkouan Shearwater Project, studies were carried out to investigate the magnitude of seabird by-catch by Maltese bottom and surface longliners. From the studies carried out so far, by-catch does not seem to be of concern for the Yelkouan shearwater, which may due to a number of mitigating factors, such as the night setting, the side setting, the weight of the snood and the bait, which has been defrosted.

Aichi Target 10 - The EU Annex I Habitat Type - 1170 Reefs under the Habitats Directive is afforded legal protection in Malta and is covered by marine protected areas. The current distribution of 170km2 (utilising 1x1km grid cells presence/absence method) is based on various assessments related to the distribution of Cystoseira spp. and Lithophyllum lichenoides? Known records for Astroides calycularis and Dendropoma petraeum were also considered. Coral species are also afforded strict protection through national legislation. Pressures on these reef habitats/communities such as fishing and harvesting aquatic resources; discharges and penetration/disturbance below surface of the seabed are deemed of medium importance, while depositing of dredged deposits is of low importance. Reef Communities in Maltese waters were assigned an unknown status in 2007 and overall favourable conservation status in 2013 when considering the Article 17 report prepared as required under the auspices of the EC Habitats Directive.

Data links:

Implementation of the MSFD in Malta:

EU Life Yelkouan Shearwater Project: [to be updated by the Member State]

EU target 5

Combat Invasive Alien Species

Malta’s NBSAP Measures BI1 to BI4: Implementing legislation is being drafted to address those provisions of Member States competence in the EU Regulation No. 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Prevention and Management of the Introduction and Spread on Invasive Alien Species. Malta also implements the European Strategy on IAS as adopted under the Bern Convention Framework. Implementing measures are regularly reported to the Bern Convention Secretariat in the run up to meetings of the Expert Group on IAS which Malta attends. MEPA adopted the “Guidelines on Managing Major Plant Invaders and Restoring Native Plant Communities within Terrestrial Settings in the Maltese Islands” in March 2013. The Guidelines have been drawn up to: (1) assist the planning and implementation of management programmes, aimed at counteracting the spread of existing plant invaders; and (2) assist the design and implementation of native plant reintroductions or reinforcements, aimed at reinstating native plant communities to a favourable conservation status. Eradication or control activities are currently identified on an ad hoc basis, and are focussed on priority cases. Activities are undertaken following specific method statements that are drawn up on a case-by-case basis as the need arises. The “Protection of Animals offered in Pet Shops (Minimum Standards) Regulations, 2014” (SL439.16) issued in July 2013 include the concept of contingency with regards to escapees and in cases of emergency.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 9: For the marine environment, this NBSAP target was reinforced through the adoption of a similar target for the purposes of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, in line with its Article 10. In order to facilitate the achievement of this latter target through management of vectors/ pathways, a second target calling for the assessment of the effectiveness of current measures targeted at the prevention of introduction of non-indigenous species was also established. These two targets will pave the way for the implementation of management measures targeted at the prevention of the introduction and establishment of alien species in particular those that are invasive.

MEPA also participated in the EU co-financed MedPAN North project. One of the activities of this Project involved the gathering of data via surveys for selected marine alien species in Malta’s five Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with the involvement of divers and assisted by the Department of Biology within the University of Malta.

Data links:

MEPA Guidelines:

“Protection of Animals offered in Pet Shops (Minimum Standards) Regulations, 2014” (SL439.16):

MSFD NIS Report:

MedPAN North Project:

EU target 6

Help avert global biodiversity loss

Action 18a: Resources for global biodiversity conservation

Malta’s NBSAP Measure FB1: Work on the drafting of a national biodiversity financing plan as required by the CBD by 2015 has commenced.

Malta’s NBSAP Target 19: Various initiatives have been taken or are ongoing to help strengthen Malta’s capacity to implement Multilateral Environmental Agreements and EU Policy at a national level in the fields of for instance combating wildlife crime and environmental monitoring. Member States, including Malta, that acceded to the EU in or after 2004 promised to strive to spend 0.17% of their GNI on ODA by 2010 and 0.33% by 2015. Malta's Official Development Assistance consists of:

  • a financial contribution to the EU budget's external assistance instruments
  • a financial contribution to the European Development Fund (EDF)
  • financial contributions to other bilateral or multilateral organisations in accordance with the rules established by the OECD-DAC. This may include, inter alia, financial commitments in relation to climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs, through its Development Unit, coordinates an annual national exercise to collect data information and expenditures that may be eligible as ODA according to the rules established by the OECD DAC. The ten areas of focus in the Official Development Assistance Policy document for Malta are:

  • Democratisation and Good Governance
  • Migration and Asylum
  • Education, Training and Human Capacity Development
  • Health
  • Gender Equality
  • Vulnerable Groups
  • Climate Change
  • Water
  • Information and Communication Technologies and Research
  • Trade and Investment

Data link:

MFA Portal on ODA:

Action 20: Access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits

Malta’s NBSAP Measure GR3 and Malta’s NBSAP Target 15: Malta currently implements the requirements of Article 15 of the CBD via the “Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations, 2006, as amended” (Legal Notice 311 of 2006, as amended) by requesting access to be on the basis of prior informed consent (PIC), where applicable. A permit application for access to Malta’s natural genetic resources within the scope of Article 15 is available online. Malta’s NBSAP calls for a strengthened national ABS Regime. National preparations are underway in order to be in a position to implement the access pillar of Nagoya Protocol at a national level. The compliance pillar will be implemented through the EU Regulation No. 511/2014 on compliance measures for users resulting from the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization in the Union. The implementing legislation to address provisions of the EU Regulation that are of Member State competence is also being drafted.

Data link:

Application forms for Nature Permits: