New President for BirdLife Malta

BirdLife Malta has appointed a new President and Vice President following the retirement of long-standing President Joseph Mangion.

After twelve years in the Presidential role, Joseph Mangion has voluntarily stepped down from his leadership responsibilities in the organisation.

BirdLife Malta has now appointed Geoffrey Saliba as President and Saviour Balzan as vice-president.

Mangion took the helm at BirdLife Malta at the time of the EU accession negotiations in December 2001 and ensured BirdLife Malta grew from strength to strength to remain one of the most respected environmental NGOs on the Maltese islands particularly through its presence in the media and as a respected stakeholder.

Under his tenure BirdLife Malta grew into a professionally managed Environmental NGO with a full time staff compliment, stepping up its fight against illegal hunting, pushing for stricter enforcement of the bird protection laws and was instrumental in attracting international support for nature conservation in Malta. BirdLife Malta also became the first Maltese NGO to successfully manage three EU Life projects for the conservation of nature in Malta.

In these years BirdLife Malta was also instrumental in helping the Maltese Government identify eleven important bird areas to be designated as SPAs (Special Protection Areas) to become part of the EU Natura 2000 network. 

"These twelve years have been an incredible experience both in terms of local and international representation of this wonderful Environmental NGO. I wish even more success to BirdLife Malta in the years to come and I augur the new leadership all the best for a successful tenure and assure them of my wholehearted support," Mangion said.

Steve Micklewright, BirdLife Malta Executive Director said, "Joseph has been President of BirdLife Malta during an especially productive and difficult time. Without Joseph's drive and ambition for BirdLife Malta, many of its achievements would not have been possible."

Geoffrey Saliba succeeds Joseph Mangion following his appointment in the post of President by the newly elected council members.  Saliba has been involved in the environmental protection sector since 2007.

He has worked extensively on illegal hunting and trapping issues, has been involved in four EU funded LIFE projects to date, and currently works on water protection, managing the Malta Business Bureau's EU LIFE+ Investing in Water Project. With a degree in Tourism Studies, prior to joining the environmental protection sector he worked in tourism, and also owned and ran a wholesale business.

Steve Micklewright added, "Geoffrey is a committed environmentalist and a skilled communicator and he will help to steer the organisation through the next few years, especially supporting the development of new and exciting bird conservation projects as well as enabling us to inspire more people about birds and the natural work through our education work and events."

The council at BirdLife Malta has also appointed Saviour Balzan as Vice-President. Balzan is a well known public figure and campaigner who began his life of campaigning on environmental issues with BirdLife Malta many years ago.  "Saviour brings his communications and campaigning skills to BirdLife Malta and he will be supporting us as we intensify our campaign against spring and illegal hunting and trapping on the Maltese islands," Micklewright said.

"In this respect, BirdLife Malta is delighted that Saviour has agreed to be nominated as one of BirdLife Malta's representatives on the Ornis Committee during 2014. He was involved in the founding of Ornis and he will bring his past experience to this committee as it makes important recommendations to government about hunting and trapping this year."


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