[WATCH] Global centre for climate-friendly travel research to be set up in Malta

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said Malta wanted to be a trailblazer in efforts to identify and address the impacts of travel on climate change

Malta will be taking the first step towards properly evaluating and assessing the global environmental impact of travel, through the establishment of a centre for climate-friendly travel.

Addressing a press conference marking the launch of the centre, Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said Malta would be spearheading global efforts aimed at limiting the environmental impact of travel and tourism.

“Travel and tourism is an important sector, and is a key contributor to Malta’s and the world’s economy, yet we sometimes forget the impact they have on the environment,” Mizzi said. 

The new centre will be run by Strong Universal Network Global Initiative (SunX) which will be committed to conducting and publishing a state of the climate review across the travel sector.

The review, Mizzi said, would then be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in a bid to show world leaders what measures can be taken to mitigate negative impacts.

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi

Moreover, he said that in the first quarter of every year, the country will be hosting the Malta Think Tank, where experts in the field will convene and formulate measures for more environmentally friendly travel.

Mizzi said that all aspects of travel and tourism will be analysed, and therefore the project will hopefully result in legal amendments not only locally but also around the world. 

Sun X co-founder Geoffrey Lipman stressed the importance of the project. “We are now facing a war, a war on climate change.”

He said that small island states like Malta were most at risk from climate change, commending Malta for embracing change.  

He said there were many dimensions to climate-friendly travel, insisting that the starting point was determining both its positive and negative impacts. 

Professor Geoffrey Lipman
Professor Geoffrey Lipman

“The good and the bad sides have to be in an equilibrium, therefore we must ensure that everything is tracked and analysed,” he said. 

Another aspect which Lipman emphasised, was the green aspect of development. 

“Green development must be at the core of our work. Low carbon, inclusive circular economy and nature based development must be put at the forefront,” he stressed.

The Sun X initiative will also be identifying 100,000 young climate change champions around the world, who would be pushing and implementing the changes. 

“We will not create data, the experts are in charge of that, the problem is implementing change and these climate champions will do that,” Lipman said. 

A graduate apprentice scheme will also be awarded to some individuals. 

“Your country has a proud history of responding to war throughout the centuries, and this is yet another opportunity for it to do so,” he concluded.

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