Malta country profile - SDGs and the environment

Briefing Published 02 Dec 2020 Last modified 02 Dec 2020
The Maltese Sustainable Development Strategy identifies 20 priority areas, all of which are accompanied by targets and indicators. These areas include the environment, the economy, society, and cross-cutting issues (Government of Malta, 2018).

Malta is currently revising its NSDS to incorporate the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. For this purpose, the Maltese government has been working on developing a national Vision 2050 which aims to provide guidelines towards long-term sustainable development in Malta, whilst integrating the 2030 Agenda into sustainable development policies across all levels of government. As part of its efforts to identify the steps needed for SDG action, the country launched the process of interministerial consultations (UNECE, 2016).  The aim is to have a long-term objective that integrates the 2030 Agenda while, at the same time, defining sustainable development guidelines based on maximising the three pillars of sustainable development across all levels of government.

Malta’s action towards SDGs with an environmental dimension focuses primarily on SDGs 2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15.

From a purely environmental perspective, this vision contemplates the development of a policy that is aimed at the following critical targets: fostering the sustainability of farming activities by adapting to the local geo-climatic conditions and organic farming (SDG 2); better managing the supply of improved water quality and ensuring an adequate supply of good-quality drinking water, treating wastewater and harvesting rainwater (SDG 6); reducing the country’s carbon footprint and GHG emissions through energy efficiency and replacing heavy fuel oil with natural gas and gas oil, and renewable sources (SDG 7); improving resource efficiency in production (SDG 8); promoting greener enterprises (SDG 9); promoting energy efficiency and green spaces in cities (SDG 11); sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources (SDG 12); climate action (SDG 13); marine litter, eutrophication, exclusive economic zones managed using ecosystem-based approaches, minimising and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification, maintaining fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels and marine protected areas (SDG 14); and supporting afforestation, as well as safeguarding ecosystems and biodiversity (SDG 15) (Government of Malta, 2018).

Since 2013, the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change (MESDC) has been mandated by the prime minister as the lead agency for sustainable development matters, as set out in Malta`s Sustainable Development Act. The Act provides for the establishment of three structures to promote the sustainable development agenda: 1) the competent authority, which is responsible for a number of functions, as defined by the Act (currently the MESDC); 2) the Guardian of Future Generations, which is entrusted with promoting sustainable development principles and safeguarding the interests of future generations; and 3) the Sustainable Development Network (UN DESA, 2018).

Malta submitted a VNR to the UN in 2018.

The NSDS will be accompanied by an action plan which will outline the implementation timeline and structure of the sustainable development actions (Government of Malta, 2018). It will be the overarching umbrella for existing and future policy and strategy drafted by the Maltese government. Civil society, the private sector, academia and the public will be invited to provide feedback on the SDG actions at regular intervals (UNECE, 2016). SDG-related data collection and monitoring is managed jointly by the MESDC and the National Statistics Office (NSO) (Government of Malta, 2018).


Government of Malta, 2018,Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda 2018, Malta.

UN DESA, 2018, ‘Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform – Documents and Reports’, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, USA, accessed 29 November 2019.

UNECE, 2016, Planning, implementation, follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, Switzerland, accessed 20 November 2017.


The country assessments are the sole responsibility of the EEA member and cooperating countries supported by the EEA through guidance, translation and editing.


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