Achievements in Malta 2004-2009
Protection of the environment received the largest share of support, namely one project on water pollution reduction and water management, and one on agriculture and forestry. The first project supported Malta in establishing a national containment and clean-up system for major oil spills. With one quarter of the world’s oil tankers plying its waters, Malta’s Mediterranean coastline runs a daily risk of oil contamination. Following a thorough risk assessment, an action plan was developed listing the steps that should be taken before, during and after a large oil spill. The Grant was also used to buy the equipment needed to contain an open-sea oil spill off Malta’s shoreline until foreign assistance is available.
The second project was directed at supporting the Xrobb l-Għaġin national park in reforestation efforts and in the establishment of an education centre focusing on sustainable environmental solutions, including renewable energy, water use and local biodiversity. Over 15 500 trees have been planted and restoration work carried out on the educational centre.
Within cultural heritage, three significant projects were funded. One project supported physical renovation work to stabilise the ramparts of Mdina’s bastions. Another one targeted the underground World Heritage Site of Hypogeum on Malta. It is a complex of subterranean stairs and chambers not far from Malta’s capital Valetta, a unique monument that outdates the Egyptian pyramids and has survived for over 5 000 years. This complex is unique, but the flood of tourists throughout most of the 20th century contributedto the pressure and damage the complex suffered.
Thirdly, the Grants supported the development of a large-scale plan to renovate the Cittadella on the island of Gozo. This is a small fortified town which, until the 17th century, provided a safe dwelling place for the island’s inhabitants. It is the main historical site on the island and very important for both tourism and economic activity. The Grants also supported two projects to ensure that Malta met requirements for Schengen membership.