"We restore back the dignity that this place deserves" Prime Minister
Prime Minister, Hon. Dr Lawrence Gonzi, in his first official visit to the offices of the Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA), presented staff with a newly formulated code of ethics that will help bring about greater transparency and accountability to the public within the Authority.
The Code of Ethics is the first among a series of other changes that the Prime Minister will be implementing in the wake of assuming direct responsibility of the reform within the Authority, an electoral promise that had been positively received.
Addressing Mepa staff, the Prime Minster Gonzi gave strong indications that one of the major aspects of the reform that will be enacted at MEPA will be the increased involvement of Civil Society in the Authority. More space will be given within the structures of the Authority, to consultations with NGOs and Civil Society, including residents, before policy decisions are taken on a local or a national basis. He encouraged the employees of MEPA to be active participants in this reform.
Upon arrival at the offices the Prime Minster was greeted by the MEPA Chairman Mr Andrew Calleja and Director General Dr Godwin Cassar who accompanied him on a tour of the offices. The Prime Minister was briefed about the customer services that the Authority daily renders to its clients, both through its web-based application systems and its front desk services. Dr Gonzi, was updated with the latest challenges the Authority is facing in the environment field, amongst them the threat to biodiversity, the impact of climate change and the adoption of environment policy frameworks. The Prime Minster was also briefed about the €4.2 million the Authority has managed to secure in international investment funded projects.
Dr Gonzi was also given an overview of the work that is carried out in relation to Forward Planning, namely the strategic consolidation and comprehension of planning policies and their interpretation and within the Development Services Division. Here the Prime Minister was then briefed about the adopted procedures and processes that are adhere to when dealing with development planning applications both of a scale which legally designates them as Major Projects and those which are certainly more prolific but are lesser in size.
Dr. Gonzi showed particular interest to the issue of sustainable development that was brought up and discussed on a number of occasions throughout the trip.
The visit came to a conclusion with the Prime Minister having a private meeting with all the members of the MEPA boards and the Development Control Commissions.