More political commitment needed on all Natura 2000 sites – NTM
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Today, the 21st of May is European Natura 2000 Day, which commemorates the same date in 1992, when the EU Habitats Directive and LIFE programme were approved.
The Habitats Directive and the 1979 EU Birds Directive formed the base of the Natura 2000 Network of protected areas across the European Union.
In Gozo and Malta there are a total of 34 terrestrial Natura 2000 sites and a further 14 marine terrestrial sites.
Nature Trust – FEE Malta in a statement has said that it appreciates the ecological importance of each site in the Maltese Islands, but added that it, “also recognises the duty of national authorities to help in the conservation, maintenance and upkeep of these sites.”
It pointed out that, locally, the only Natura 2000 sites that are being managed are those areas that involve eNGOs, “with the rest only being managed on paper, with no active involvement.”
NT-FEE Malta urged the Government “to show more political commitment to all local Natura 2000 sites for them to be managed well and to offer more support to eNGOs in their efforts to preserve these sites for all to enjoy.”
NT-FEE concluded by saying that it also notes that, “law enforcement in such sites is very poor and, in some cases like Marine Protected Areas, it is virtually non-existent.” The NGO urged the authorities to strengthen law enforcement in order to maintain the ongoing on-site conservation efforts.
Photograph by Alain Salvary