More than 230 NGOs join the call for the “Europe We Want”

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  World Water Day 22 March  On this World Water Day, Nature Trust Malta calls upon the Government to show strong leadership on water issues both at home and abroad.  “As EU president and chair-in-office of the Commonwealth Malta has the unique opportunity to advocate on global water issues,” Nature Trust’s President Vincent Attard stated. “Many countries are already facing severe droughts and /or unprecedented flooding and will face the progressive worsening of these problems due to the growing impact of climate change. Malta itself is classified as one of the most ‘water poor’ nations on the planet while the Mediterranean will be amongst the regions hardest hit by climate change.”  “Malta urgently needs a formal national water plan emerging from an inclusive national dialogue bringing together all stakeholders. Parliament should then enact a long-term national water strategy, aligned with both the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to 2030 and existing Mediterranean initiatives. Also needed is a clear delineation and reorganisation of responsibilities of the current water governance structure.”  “Malta island’s mean sealevel aquifer is its main source of freshwater - but increasingly threatened by the rising sea level caused to climate change which increases the water’s salt content. Already about 60% of our water comes from seawater desalination - which is energy intensive, producing large quantities of waste and is vulnerable to any major oil spill offshore, or suspension of supplies due to some political crisis in the region. Continued reliance on this source is inevitable but the nation must make every effort to maximise our own resources, through water saving, maximum possible capture of rainwater, stormwater and reuse of treated waste water from the current sewage plants”.  “We commend the WSC’s water saving tips posted on its website - but these should be enclosed in every water bill sent to consumers. The identification, registration and metering of currently illegal boreholes must be completed, and a strategy worked out to bill their owners for withdrawals. Government purchases from private (bowser) suppliers must also be critically reviewed.  “Agriculture remains the leading water user. Under the Strategy we propose farmers must be strongly motivated to conserve and capture water on-site, enabled to use polished wastewater and review their current cropping patterns so as to progressively adopt less water-intensive and more drought resistant strains”.  “Water capture and storage systems must be mandatory in all new buildings and fiscal incentives offered to all building owners to install such systems, or revive systems originally built into the structure which are now disused.”  Nature Trust Malta has been actively contributing to improving Malta’s water situation as local manager of the international Alter Aqua project on non-conventional resources. NTM has trained 926 educators while some 10358 students have attended interactive workshops conducted by Ekoskola (80% of schools) teachers and at the Xrobb l-Ghagin Nature Park and Sustainable Development Centre where applications can be made for training. Nature Trust also partners with HBSC in its ‘Catch the Drop’ project.237 NGOs join the call for “The Europe We Want.” In a joint statement, they said that the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome is a huge opportunity to take stock of how far Europe has come – and how far we still have to go – in order to offer a sustainable and prosperous future to everyone in Europe.

Going in that direction, over 230 civil society organisations and trade unions from all over Europe, including BirdLife Malta, have signed a joint statement entitled “The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive,” which has been sent to EU leaders.

The common appeal to European leaders was sent to European Commission President Juncker and Vice-Presidents Timmermans, Ansip, Šefcovic, Dombrovskis and Katainen, and High Representative Mogherini; as well as Presidents Tusk and Tajani, and Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Building on the previous call for “A New Europe for People, Planet and Prosperity for All,” and signed by more than 230 organisations, the NGOs said that the statement seizes the opportunity of the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome to reaffirm the signatories’ belief in European integration and to offer concrete proposals for the EU institutions and the EU Heads of State and Government as they meet for an extraordinary EU Summit in Rome this coming Saturday, the 25th of March to consider the future of Europe.

The full statement in English is available for download here.

Photograph by Alain Salvary

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    1 Response

    1. george palmer says:

      After another devastating terrorist attack yesterday I think the Europe the NGO’s want differs vastly from the Europe 99% of its citizens want. Need I say more. RIP PC Keith Palmer and those others killed. May the injured make full recoveries.

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