Various international initiatives exist which call for the designation of protected areas, some also aiming at creating ecological networks across countries.
Sites of international of international importance include the following:
Wetlands of International Importance, or Ramsar sites, are designated under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (or UN Ramsar Convention). Malta has two such sites: L-Għadira and Is-Simar.
Specially Protected Areas are designated under the Protocol for Specially Protected Areas under the UN Barcelona Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution). Malta has four such sites: L-Għadira, Il-Gżejjer ta' San Pawl (St. Paul's Islands), Filfla & surrounding islets; Fungus Rock (Ħaġret il-Ġeneral).
Areas of Special Conservation Interest, forming the Emerald Network of protected areas, are called for under the Council of Europe Bern Convention. Such network is to be established in the territory of the Contracting Parties and observer States to the Bern Convention, including, amongst others, Central and Eastern European countries and the EU Member States. Malta has submitted various sites to form part of this network of protected areas.
Special Areas of Conservation under the EC Habitats Directive and Special Protection Areas under the EC Birds Directive form the Natura 2000 Network called for under the aforementioned EC Nature Directives. Various terrestrial and marine sites have been selected by Malta to form part of this network. For further details: Natura 2000.
Other sections related to Important Natural Areas
Protected Areas - National
Links for further information
State of the Environment Reports (or Indicators)
Common Database on Designated Areas (CDDA)