[WATCH] Simone Borg to chair climate action board • eNGOs boycott meeting

Environment Minister Leo Brincat says that a concerted and multi-faceted approach was necessary in order to tackle climate change

Environment Minister Leo Brincat (Photo: Ray Attard)
Environment Minister Leo Brincat (Photo: Ray Attard)

Video is unavailable at this time.

Ambassador for climate change Simone Borg has been appointed as chairwoman of the Climate Action Board, launched this morning by Environment Minister Leo Brincat.

Borg, considered an expert in the field, obtained her Ph.D. on the conservation of marine natural resources at the International Maritime Law Institute. She was also responsible for negotiating Malta’s position in International Environmental Multilateral Agreements, including the negotiations to the Climate Change Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, the Barcelona Convention on the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea and its Protocols, the drafting of legislation and legal policy making in environmental and energy law. 

The board came into being as part of the law on climate action, passed last year. The law, unanimously approved, enjoys wide political consensus.

Board members include economist Philip von Brockdorff, as its deputy chairman, architect David Xuereb and meteorological sciences expert Charles Galdes.

The minister added that representation from every ministry was essential and necessary to ensure that representation was as wide and broad as possible. “The invitation to green NGOs is still open and it’s up to them whether or not to be represented on the board,” Brincat added.

Five eNGOs boycotted the climate action board in protest at the proposed law to facilitate the possession of protected birds. However, BirdLife has refused to join in the boycott, arguing that it wanted to take a pro-active stance to fight climate change.

“The individuals here represent the environment, energy and health, transport, finance, economic development and competiveness, waste management, farming, and education,” Brincat told a press conference.

Brincat said that awareness campaigns were necessary to create more capacity building in action against climate change, and he added that the board would also look at the direct impact of tourism on climate change.

“If the heat becomes excessive, then people might start looking for cooler destinations, so it befits the sector to look into ways to face such challenges and deal with them effectively.”

Brincat also made reference to Malta’s presidency of the European Council, which will continue to prioritise climate change as one of its central issues.

He added that the council had secured representation from the consumer sectors as well as planning, and that it would continue to adapt and mitigate strategies like the low carbon development strategy and international climate finance.

“These strategies are the heart of the way this board can effectively address climate change,” Brincat said.

He further announced that a Climate Action Fund, chaired by von Brockdorff, would also be set up in the near future, and which would have a board made up of people from the economic and financial sector.

He explained that the two institutions would mean that the country would be able to fulfill its multilateral obligations and duties, and that the board’s objectives and obligations had been agreed with the Prime Minister.

Calling the group a “unique strategic board”, Brincat said Malta was one of the first countries in the European Union to legislate on climate change.