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Developing National Environmental Monitoring Infrastructure and Capacity

  

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 This project has been approved funding under the “Environmental Monitoring” focus area of Axis 6 of the Operational Programme 1 of the Structural Funds Programme for Malta (2007-2013).

As a small densely populated and highly urbanised island economy, Malta faces wide-ranging environmental challenges in the areas of air, water, waste, nature protection, noise, chemicals, industrial pollution, sewerage, land use planning and control of urban sprawl, and other sectors.

Various initiatives have already been undertaken to upgrade Malta’s environmental regulatory capacity, including efforts to ensure full compliance with the relevant Community Directives as well as national legislation. However, environmental monitoring and reporting are hampered by lack of baseline environmental data on ambient conditions, lack of monitoring infrastructure, modern monitoring equipment and limited human resources. These factors result in ineffective monitoring and reporting on the state of the environment, increased risk of failure to detect, prioritise and address environmental degradation, as well as in an inefficient use of financial, human and natural resources.

The project focuses on radically improving the national environmental monitoring capacity in five environmental themes – air, water, radiation, noise, and soil. It will result in the procurement of equipment, information management systems, environmental baseline surveys, training of staff, and the enhancement of the national monitoring programmes in these five environmental themes.

The purpose of the project will be achieved through a series of 7 service and 3 supply contracts that will lead to the procurement of equipment, development of information management systems, gathering of critical baseline data, development of monitoring programmes and training of human resources in the operation of equipment and systems. The following outputs will be delivered:

  1. 100% of environmental monitoring requirements in the areas of air, water, radiation, noise and soil will be assessed, and an environmental monitoring strategy and detailed monitoring programmes will be designed and drawn up by Q4 of 2012 to cover all monitoring requirements. The strategy will be accompanied by detailed tender specifications for the procurement of equipment, systems, training and data collection requirements that could not be identified prior to the completion of the strategy;
  2. Air, noise and radiation equipment, information resources systems and infrastructure procured, installed, tested and commissioned, and relevant MEPA staff trained in their operation by the Q4 of 2012;
  3. Baseline studies with 100% scan coverage of the Maltese Islands conducted in the areas of water, radiation, noise and soil, together with terrestrial spatial surveys and bathymetric surveys of coastal waters within 1 nautical mile by Q4 of 2012;
  4. Shared Environmental Information System (SEIS) designed and implemented by Q2 of 2013;
  5. Results of the project will be disseminated throughout the project to a wide range of stakeholders and the public through an information campaign.  As a result, public awareness of issues pertaining to the environment will be improved, and better policy decisions can be taken in the field of the environment.
The above investment will contribute to achieving between 25% and 100% compliance with the monitoring requirements of around 17 legislative instruments (Directives, Regulations, Decisions) in the areas of air, water, soil, noise and radiation.

MEPA will be implementing the project in collaboration with the Malta Resources Authority (MRA), the Department of Environmental Health, the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the University of Malta. The project has a budget of € 4,780,480, of which € 4,657,760 are eligible costs.

Within MEPA, the project is managed by the Information Resources Unit with the assistance from the International Projects Team of the EU & Multilateral Affairs Unit.

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