CCE Country Profile
Table of Contents
We encourage countries to give input on the profiles to assist us in keeping them accurate and up to date. Please contact the GEM Report (education.profiles(at)unesco.org) or the MECCE Project (mecce.info(at)usask.ca) to give input. The country profiles are also available on the GEM Report’s Profiles Enhancing Education Reviews (PEER) website at education-profiles.org.
This profile has been reviewed by country experts.
I) Climate change context
Malta is part of an archipelago of five islands in the center of the Mediterranean Sea. The main islands, Malta, Gozo, and Comino, cover approximately 320 km2 with 140 km of coastline. According to the Malta National Statistics Office the total population 520,971 in 2021.
Malta is a small island state and its 7th National Communication (2017) reports that it is more vulnerable to climate change. The Maltese economy competes internationally, with foreign trade services and human services being some of the country’s important assets. Land is scarce, and the World Bank states that climate change impacts could risk economic development.
The Global Carbon Atlas states that Malta’s emissions were around 3.6 t CO2 per person in 2020, categorizing Malta as a low-emitting country. Malta’s 7th National Communication (2017) reports that the energy sector is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for over 99.6% of national carbon dioxide emissions. Within the energy sector, transport contributes the highest greenhouse gas emissions. Sectors such as agriculture, waste, and land use are also major contributors.
Malta is an Annex-I country under the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC). Malta signed the Kyoto Protocol in April 1998 and ratified it in November 2001. Malta signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016, ratified it in October 2016, and accepted the Doha Amendment in December 2017.
In October 2019, the Government of Malta declared a climate emergency by passing a motion in parliament. According to the Times of Malta, the declaration was put forth by more than 30 youth and civil society organizations.
II) Relevant government agencies
Multiple ministries and government agencies incorporate climate change in their frameworks and policies. Malta had no designated Action for Climate Empowerment (ACE) focal point at the time of this review. The UNFCCC focal point is the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning.
The Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning is pivotal in coordinating climate change-related activities within and external to the ministerial framework by encouraging ministries and non-governmental organizations to participate in public consultations. The Ministry also has a significant role in implementing climate change policy. The Directorate General for Environment and Climate Change is responsible for the implementation of Malta’s National Strategy for Policy and Abatement Measures Relating to the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (2009) and the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010). The Directorate was also responsible for drafting the Climate Action Bill in 2014, which promotes the mitigation of climate change through reduction of anthropogenic emissions. The Climate Action Act was published as Chapter 543 of the Laws of Malta in 2015 and is Malta’s main law on climate changeThe Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs published the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in 2010. The Strategy outlines climate impacts and vulnerabilities for major sectors in Malta and proposes climate action accordingly by providing mitigation targets.
The Malta Resources Authority manages and plans the national greenhouse gas inventory. The Climate Change Unit within the Malta Resources Authority prepares the annual inventory submission for Malta, estimates sectoral emissions or removal of greenhouse gases, and facilitates many greenhouse gas-related activities. The final report on relevant information is submitted to the European Commission, the European Environment Agency, and the UNFCCC Secretariat.
The Ministry for Tourism formulated the National Tourism Policy 2015–2020 that promotes principles of sustainable development to protect and safeguard the environment while building Malta as a tourism destination.
Until 2016, the Climate Change Committee on Adaptation was responsible for identifying adaptation measures and implementing the measures listed in the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010).
The Malta Statistics Authority regulates the National Statistics Office, which publishes data on climate change. The Office published a multidecade report and assessment of Malta’s climate: State of the Climate 2022. The report provides climatological data, weather projections, and key finding of changing climate conditions in Malta.
The Planning Authority is responsible for land use and planning, and publishes local and action plans on land use.
Education and communication
Malta’s Ministry for Education, Sport, Youths and Research and Innovation is partially responsible for drafting research policy and the National Curriculum Framework (2012) that incorporates education for sustainable development. The Ministry also took part in formulating the Global Education and Climate Change report, which looks at climate change education in global education. Many member states of the European Union took part in this. The Ministry, with the Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning, Transport Malta, the Embassy for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and the Centre for Environmental Education and Research, support the locally run environmental education program EkoSkola.
The National Commission for Further and Higher Education was relaunched as the Malta Further and Higher Education Authority in 2021. The Authority promotes and develops higher education in Malta.
With ongoing collaboration with colleges and schools, the Directorate for Educational Services assists students with development of appropriate knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes on subjects such as equity, social justice, inclusion, and diversity. The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010) recommended that the Directorate collaborate with the Malta Resources Authority on improving the integration of climate change in primary and secondary curricula across Malta.
The Malta Communications Authority, in its Strategy Update of 2022–2024, addresses climate change by indicating the role of the communications sector as a “catalyst for other sectors to achieve the necessary environmental efficiencies” (p. 4).
III) Relevant laws, policies, and plans
The Constitution of Malta was legally adopted in 1964 and last amended in 2020. Article 9 of the Constitution focuses on protection and conservation of the environment by the State “for the benefit of the present and future generations and shall take measures to address any form of environmental degradation in Malta, including that of air, water and land, and any sort of pollution problem and to promote, nurture and support the right of action in favour of the environment.” (p. 9)
The Freedom of Access to Information on Environmental Regulations (Law Number 116 of 2005) grant public access to environmental information held by or for authorities. The authority responsible for carrying out the legislation is the Planning Authority. Within the Regulations, (Subsidiary Legislation 549.39 of 2005 guarantees public access to environmental information. The authority responsible for carrying out this part of legislation is the Environment and Resources Authority.
The Crimes Against the Environment Act (2012) makes damage to the environment illegal. Examples are improper waste disposal, damaging biodiversity, and ejecting emissions into the soil, air, and water, for which the parties will be held responsible. However, climate change is not explicitly referenced in the Act.
The Maltese Climate Action Act (2015) requires the government to integrate climate change matters into plans, policies, and programs. Climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts are to be prioritized within the government’s formulation of all new policies and plans.
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010), compiled by the Climate Change Committee on Adaptation, presented recommendations for the Maltese government, non-governmental organizations, and think tanks to expand knowledge on climate change and integrate it into policy matters.
The Ministry of Tourism, the Environment and Culture published the National Environmental Policy (2012), which prioritizes environmental activities from 2012 to 2020 in Malta. The policy is intended to improve policy implementation of environmental activities and positively link the environment and the economy. The Ministry also published Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2012–2020 (2012), which promotes sustainable use of natural resources and links climate change to design adaptation and mitigation, to ensure a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy.
Malta’s 2030 National Energy and Climate Plan (2019) is legally enforced by European Union Regulation (2019). The Regulation is a legislative foundation for the Energy Union and Climate Action to fulfill the European Union’s 2030 objectives. The objectives align with the Union’s international commitments under the Paris Agreement and address reducing greenhouse gas emissions overall. Malta’ Plan aims to fulfill its international obligations to the European Union under the Paris Agreement as prospective targets. The Plan aims to support Malta in sustainability for the environment, economy, and social development and in climate action for the country toward a “decarbonised energy system and towards mitigating climate change” (2019, p. 1).
The Malta Low Carbon Development Strategy (2021) assists Malta in reaching greenhouse gas emissions targets and fulfills obligations listed in the European Union Regulation and the Paris Agreement. The Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change, and Planning is responsible for compiling and implementing the Strategy.
Education and communication
The Education Act (2022) consolidates and reforms relating to education in Malta. However, climate change and environmental education are not explicitly referenced in the Act.
The National Curriculum Framework for All (2012), from the Ministry of Education and Employment, provides principles and aims to improve the education system in Malta. However, climate change is not referenced in the Framework.
The Ministry of Education and Employment published 2014 the Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014–2024. The Strategy outlines an education plan to be implemented with the help of an open consultative process. Goals for policy development include lifelong learning, adult learning, and addressing education gaps.
The National Youth Policy Towards 2020 (2015) presents a shared vision for future generations by supporting youth-based environmental projects. The Policy’s action plan is to develop and implement initiatives to support youth in actively becoming involved in enhancing the quality of the local environment and the community. Youth are encouraged to develop projects, activities, and events at the local community level.
IV) Terminology used for climate communication and education
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010) recommends launching climate change education and communication campaigns that will mainstream climate change adaptation for the public. The Strategy states that the Maltese public would be receptive to education campaigns and support future policy making for climate change adaptation. In particular, education campaigns are proposed to include health and climate change. The Strategy addresses the significance of education as its ability to guide “individuals and communities to make informed decisions and take action for climate-resilient sustainable development” (p. 137). The Strategy focuses on the role of television in climate change communication and delivering climate-specific messages to the public.
The Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes is responsible for drafting a formal curriculum for upper secondary grades in Malta. Relevant to climate change education, the Geography syllabus (General Classes) for Year 10 for 2021–2022 examines ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’ through extensive study of green energy. Under the teaching objective of learning about global warming, students analyze possible consequences of global warming and further climate change, such as rising sea levels, with reference to Malta and other examples.
The Climate Action Act (2015) emphasizes the importance of climate change communication and education by proposing to “promote and cooperate in education, training and public awareness related to climate change” (p. 3). The Act states that climate action must work toward establishing a society with sustainable development.
V) Budget for climate communication and education
The National Budget speech of 2022 provides details on estimated funding allocations in Malta. The Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change, and Planning was allocated a recurring expenditure of US$ 74 million (EUR70 million) in 2021 and a capital expenditure of US$ 38 million (EUR 34 million). The Minister states that funds will be issued for local councils to set up projects related to sustainable development. Through a competition called Designing Sustainable Localities, proposals that meet sustainable development targets and those that address climate change will be funded. However, more information is not yet available.
The Climate Action Act (2015) sets up a Climate Action Fund, under which its Board of Governors finances implementation of the Act. The financial objectives of the Fund are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, adopting carbon-neutral technologies, and enhancing the climate resilience of sectors of society. However, specific amounts allocated to and by the Fund are not available.
The Environmental Funding Support Scheme for Voluntary Organizations (2017) has Funding Guidelines to support non-governmental and non-profit voluntary organizations that prioritize environmental conservation projects and initiatives. The Guidelines state the eligibility criteria for receiving environmental funding, mainly collaborations between these types of organizations and the Ministry for the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Climate Change.
The 2030 National Energy and Climate Plan (2019) emphasizes the importance of climate financing and its role in addressing climate change. The Plan lists approaches and activities for which specific funds have been allocated. For instance, the Government of Malta proposes to develop information dissemination programs that will provide better information to decision makers and engineers in the industry and services sectors. The programs, led by the Energy and Water Agency over 2 years, target increasing awareness of energy efficiency and building capacity in energy management, with a budget of EUR 20,000 annually.
The Government of Malta’s Recovery and Resilience Plan (2021) contributes to a sustainable and green effort that complements the government’s objectives to fulfill the European Goals, the Sustainable Development Goals, and Malta’s own policy objectives. The Plan is funded by the European Union, and over 54% of its total funding is awarded for reforms and investments that support climate objectives. Investments include renovations and renewable energy in public schools, and construction of pilot near-carbon-neutral schools as a learning experience for students. The Plan has a budget of US$ 77 million (EUR 78 million) to address climate neutrality, with a focus on energy efficiency, clean energy, and a circular economy.
The Central Bank of Malta published a Policy Note in March 2022 that highlights the role of fiscal policy in enabling climate change mitigation and adaptation activities in the country. The Note offers initiatives to further climate change response in Malta, along with fiscal policy instruments to support such initiatives. An example is a focus on the significance of environmental taxes from the transportation and energy sectors for government revenue. Green projects funded by the government are consolidated in the policy note.
CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION AND TRAINING IN THE COUNTRY
I) Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
The Maltese government advocates for inclusion of education for sustainable development in formal curricula, and the National Curriculum Framework for All (2012) stresses that inclusion. However, climate change is not directly addressed.
The Directorate for Learning and Assessment Programmes publishes school curricula. The curricula are divided into ‘general’ and ‘option’ for secondary grades. The Geography curriculum references climate change in various subjects for secondary grades. For instance, the Grade 10 curriculum for 2021–2022 for general classes references climate change and focuses on the impacts of the phenomenon in Malta and a global context. The main topics addressed in the curriculum that are connected to climate change are global warming and depletion of the ozone layer. The Core Curriculum Programme for Grades 9–11 states that climate change and solutions in energy resources are units that include the study of renewable energy, geothermal energy, and other topics related to the environment and climate. Students are encouraged to acquire knowledge and skills through activities in fieldwork and classroom learning,
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010) recommends that the Malta Resources Authority collaborate with the Directorate for Educational Services on how primary and secondary level curricula can integrate the teaching of climate change through multiple subjects.
Outside formal curricula, non-governmental organizations have roles in advocating for climate change education. The Eco-Schools programme is an international initiative launched in 1994 by the Foundation for Environmental Education. The Programme is now implemented in more than 43,000 schools around the world. The Malta Environment and Planning Authority collaborated with the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport to launch the pilot program of Nature Trust (Malta) in October 2002. The Nature Trust-Foundation of Environmental Education Malta is an environmental non-governmental organization that coordinated the now locally run initiative called the EkoSkola (Eco-Schools) in Malta. The EkoSkola program is integrated into schools with the agreement of the head principal, and teachers and educators are asked to be involved in the program. EkoSkola allows access to resources, activities, lesson plans, and guidelines for subjects related to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The themes offered by EkoSkola include water, energy, climate change, transport, waste management, biodiversity, and healthy living. The theme of climate change offers lesson plans and activities for students and community staff. For example, a publication called Young Journalists in Action by Audrey Gauci was published for Grades 7–10. Students prepare interviews or questionnaires for people living in coastal towns. The educational materials offered by EkoScola are integrated into the school curriculum, and students 3–16 years old are graded and assessed by the school community.
The Ministry for Education and Employment published the National Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 (2015) for lifelong learning and areas of national priority for the future. The strategic measure to develop learning resources for greener living for schools, teachers, students, and parents addresses environmental and sustainability education. Education within this area includes energy and its conservation, sustainability literacy, school gardens, and landscape management. However, the Strategy does not explicitly reference climate change.
Malta’s 7th National Communication (2017) provides information about organizations and initiatives related to climate change education, indicating that Malta actively advocates for climate change-related knowledge in educational spaces.
II) Climate change in teacher training and teacher resources
The National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2010) supports teacher training by proposing a collaboration between the Malta Resources Authority and the Ministry of Education to develop teaching aids and materials that define climate change adaptation, to be available through the Internet. However, news on implementation remains unavailable at the time of this review.
Malta participates in a community network called the EIT Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) that mainly involves various European countries and actors in the public and private sector and non-profit organizations. Since 2016, the EIT Climate-KIC Malta Hub has implemented four ongoing programs for transformative climate action and a climate-resilient economy. Young Innovators is one such project, to train teachers in developing approaches that increase awareness of climate change for students 12 to 18 years old. The project seeks to address climate change challenges and effective solutions that include building the innovative capabilities of students. Teachers receive a handbook with lesson plans and an introduction to systems thinking in the classroom with visual tools.
III) Climate change in higher education
The Government of Malta gives financial support to universities to encourage postgraduate students enrolled in disciples related to engineering, sustainability, and other relevant degrees to pursue climate change-based studies. Three types of scholarships that focus on climate action are offered to postgraduate students who enroll at the University of Malta from 2017 onward. The pathways that guarantee eligibility for scholarships include climate change mitigation, enhancing resiliency by identifying vulnerabilities to climate change, and proper climate change governance.
Established in 2010, the Environment and Resources Law Department of the University of Malta addresses climate change issues by prioritizing climate action and sustainable development research. The Department has contributed to climate law and policy research at all university levels. In addition, the Department lectures and tutors university-level students on topics such as environmental and climate change law.
The University of Malta runs the Institute for Climate Change and Sustainable Development, which pursues interdisciplinary research in areas related to climate change and sustainable development. Graduate and postgraduate students and researchers undertake projects and research on climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The Institute of Earth Systems of the University of Malta conducts research at undergraduate and postgraduate level on climate and related trends at both local and regional level. Salient research on climate change include: Documenting and assessing impacts from extreme weather and climate change projections on sectors such as health, agriculture, tourism, aviation, biodiversity, and coastal environment; Gauging of climate change literacy, beliefs and best communication of climate change impacts; Reconstructing past climates from sedimentary palynological records; Long-term monitoring of phenological shifts on selected plant species in relation to climate change.
The Climate Change Platform guides collaboration between the University of Malta and academics interested in climate change issues, promoting research and teaching initiatives related to climate change. International and country-focused research promotes teaching and outreach initiatives both internal and external to the university. The Platform is overseen by a steering committee of seven University of Malta members.
Summer schools are another pathway for students to pursue climate change education. From the end of July 2021 to August 2021, the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology and AquaBiotech arranged a summer school called EIT Climate-KIC Journey that addressed climate change challenges of Malta. In this Europe-wide program, Master’s students and young professionals discuss solutions to depletion of resources and the environment by climate change.
IV) Climate change in training and adult learning
Malta supports innovation in various sectors to build a net-zero carbon economy that prioritizes climate resiliency. The EIT Climate-KIC (Knowledge and Community) Malta Hub is part of an initiative that supports training start-ups in finding effective climate change solutions. Under the program MED ClimAccelerator, local entrepreneurs in Portugal, Cyprus, and Malta focusing on climate change receive training and access to networking opportunities and financial support. The Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology implements a program for participants to present their ideas to cleantech investors at the end of their intensive bootcamp and receive support beyond the program.
The Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology and the Environment and Resources Authority co-signed an agreement in 2022 to increase environmental awareness. The agreement will help the College increase access to training and research on issues such as climate change and pollution, and to environmental fields such as water resource management and biodiversity. The agreement aims to help people become environmentally conscious by increasing access to education and training in environmental aspects.
The 7th National Communication (2017) notes the role of institutions such as the University of Malta and the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology in furthering climate change response through the endorsement of training.
CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION IN THE COUNTRY
I) Climate change and public awareness
The Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning launched the national public awareness campaign #ClimateON in 2021 to promote climate action. The campaign aims to shift public habits toward a greener and more enriching way of life, founded on an understanding of the benefits of living in a low-carbon society. Objectives include finding practical solutions to address climate change through mitigation, education, training, and awareness dissemination initiatives.
The Malta Low Carbon Development Strategy (2021) proposes to increase awareness of climate change impacts within the tourism and hospitality industry. Activities include an awareness program for industry operators that informs them of potential climate change effects and solutions in eco-tourism practices.
The Learning about Forests Malta program supports increased awareness and knowledge about the role of forests in sustainability, through outdoor learning. Schools participate in the program and participants use materials for in depth-study of the multifaceted roles of forests in addressing climate change. The program is international, and in Malta the Nature Trust-FEE is locally responsible for its implementation, similar to initiatives like EkoSkola.
The organization Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ (Malta National Youth Council) launched in 1992 for Maltese and Gozitan youth from 13 to 35 years of age. The youth-led organization encourages participants to voice their concerns on national and international issues. The Council launched an Environmental Task Force that examines conservation, waste management, clean energy and transport, eco-tourism, sustainable agriculture, and consumables. The Task Force aims to bring awareness to environmental protection and help create more policy proposals. In 2019 the Council came together with other civil society organizations in crucial lobbying for a climate emergency bill. The Bill increased public awareness about the importance of addressing climate change in Malta.
II) Climate change and public access to information
Government of Malta legislation supports public access to information. The Climate Action Act (2015, amended in 2020) is to “ensure adequate information is made available to the public, to facilitate public participation in respect of certain plans and programs relating to the climate system and ensure adequate access to justice” (p. 4).
The Malta Planning Authority made the Malta GeoPortal accessible for the public to view information on topics such as the environment, geoscientific information, location, oceans, and biota. However, information specific to climate change is not available.
The Freedom of Access to Information on Environmental Regulations (Law Number 116 of 2005) “ensures that environmental information is progressively made available and disseminated to the public to achieve the widest possible systematic availability and dissemination to the public of environmental information” (p. 1621). The Malta Environment and Planning Authority is responsible for this legislation, legally enforcing that public authorities must disclose environmental information when a citizen requests it.
The Freedom of Access to Information on the Environmental Regulations (Subsidiary Law 549.39) (2005) enhances the former legislation, with the executing agency being the Environment and Resources Authority.
The 7th National Communication (2017) reports gaps in awareness building and access to information on climate adaptation measures. Possible factors include a lack of research on climate change communication.
III) Climate change and public participation
Documented climate-related initiatives promote public participation and transparency in Malta. The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Planning oversees consultation briefs to maximize public and ministerial consultations. Initiatives include restrictions on single-use plastic products and advocating for clean vehicles. Rounds of public consultations always request the public’s input. Currently there are no open consultations.
The Malta Low Carbon Development Strategy (2021) is one example of a public consultation, open to relevant stakeholders and the public from June to July 2021. The Strategy aims to offset greenhouse gas emissions by proposing measures for specific sectors in Malta. The public consultation included academics, business representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, the transport agency, and members of civil society. The public reviewed the Strategy and submitted feedback.
Malta’s 2030 National Energy and Climate Plan (2019) states that Article 10 of the Regulation on the Governance of the Energy Union (2018) requires member states of Europe to ensure that the general public can participate in preparing the Plan. The preparatory stages of drafting the Plan, included stakeholder engagement. Public consultation was carried out at the beginning of 2019 and is reflected in the final and official draft of the Plan.
MONITORING AND EVALUATION
I) Country monitoring
Malta conducts assessments, and specific units are responsible for assessment frameworks in education, but climate change-related assessments are not common. The Educational Assessment Unit provides services specific to assessment practices for all learners. Schools are given support on assessment procedures. However, this unit has no information about climate change education assessment.
Malta participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2018, but global competency results that assess climate change-related knowledge of students are not available. The Malta country report for PISA 2018 provides details on Maltese Heads of Schools and their knowledge about climate change and the environment. More than 90% of students of Malta affirm that curriculum on climate change and global warming is offered. Students were also asked if they knew how CO2 emissions affect climate change, and responses were divided between being aware and needing support for it.
The National Statistics Office regularly publishes data on climate change. The State of the Climate – 2022 A Multidecadal Report and Assessment of Malta’s Climate (2022) highlights Malta’s changing physical climate.
Malta’s Voluntary National Review (2018) addresses the aims for each Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and initiatives established to implement each SDG. For SDG 4, which focuses on providing quality education, the Review reports that the Maltese National Curriculum (2012) integrates global citizenship education and education for sustainable development. The Review emphasizes the role of the Maltese government in 2017 in ensuring support for postgraduate students enrolling in climate action programs through the provision of scholarships. For SDG 13, which pertains to climate action, Malta addresses measures set in place to reach goals such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and political commitments.
II) MECCE Project Monitoring
The National Curriculum Framework for All (2012) mentions ‘environment’ 9 times in the physical environment context, and ‘sustainability’ 4 times. However, ‘biodiversity’ and ‘climate change’ are not mentioned. The Framework for the Education Strategy for Malta 2014–2024 does not reference any of these terms.
This section will be updated as the MECCE Project develops.
This profile was reviewed by:
Charles Galdies, Associate Professor, Institute of Earth Systems, University of Malta, Malta