Press Release 21 April 2014

Din l-Art Helwa maintains that the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) issued by the government for public consultation is not valid and has described as deplorable the government’s attempt to present this document as fulfilling the expectations of the Strategic Plan which is required to guide development and environment for the next two decades.

The NGO states that the document launched by Government is out of line with the legal requirements for the SPED. The Environment and Development Planning Act 2010 states clearly that the Strategic Plan should set out policies and include “an explanatory memorandum giving a reasoned justification for each of the policies and proposals contained in the plans.” (Cap. 504 51c)

The document now issued by the government for public consultation does not include the required policies, let alone any reasoned justification for them. Instead, says Din l-Art Helwa, it only contains a list of objectives which are very similar to the objectives published in 2012 by the previous administration in preparation for the Strategic Plan.

The 2012 document clearly stated that the objectives were only intended to “guide the policy formulation stage of the drawing up of the SPED” (p.24).  The NGO says it is unacceptable for the same objectives to now be presented by the government as the full Strategic Plan.

The government, says Din l-Art Helwa, is attempting to show that it has fulfilled its environmental obligations by presenting the document it describes as the ‘SPED’ for public consultation, when it has done nothing of the kind. Din l-Art Helwa requests the government to go back to the drawing board and publish a proper holistic strategy to regulate the sustainable development of land and sea resources as required by the Environment and Planning Development Act 2010.