Climate-KIC media coverage of Valletta Declaration

Climate-KIC

media coverage of

Valletta Declaration

Climate conference gives birth to ‘Valletta Declaration’

Engagement and effective implementation of new and future environmental projects, twinning projects and EU funded regional projects for climate action, through the nurturing of an Innovation Hub in Malta, creation of 10,000 jobs in existing and new SME’s and realizing 10% of GDP through innovation and development are amongst the most salient points of a new Valletta Declaration to be presented later this month in favour of further action for a cleaner environment.

This Valletta Declaration was drawn up following a full-day international conference “Towards a Zero-Carbon Economy beyond 2030” organised by Paragon Europe in collaboration with Climate-KIC at the Old University in Valletta. Green roofs, challenges from climate change, economic growth from better waste management as well as greener mobility options were amongst the main topics discussed during this conference.

A number of high-level speakers from the public and private sectors presented their views on how business can move to low carbon operations, how government and EU legislation is helping to tackle this issue, and how financial and technological incentives can assist organizations in reducing their carbon footprint.

Edwin Ward, Chairman of Paragon Europe explained how Paragon Europe formed the first cluster in Malta, a water cluster in 2015, calling for the creation of an innovation hub to address today’s climatic challenges becoming synonymous with innovation and embracing new technologies that that help address climate-change challenges .

“Over the course of this century, Malta and the rest of southern Europe can expect the effects of climate change on sea levels, coastal flooding, drought and storm intensity to increase at a quicker rate. This is also bound to affect Mediterranean tourism. Currently, around 220 million tourists visit the region. 30% of these arrivals are present on the coastal regions putting a strain on the coastal areas. Malta is part of a cluster of 30 islands in the Mediterranean chosen from 15,000 islands that are monitoring the effects of climate change in the region. To date, we know that due to climate change, Mediterranean ecosystems will change to levels never seen in past 10,000 years. 15% of the European population live in coastal areas therefore climate change affects them.

“Tourism has the potential of exacerbating damage to environmental conditions. The Mediterranean is threatened due to inappropriate development of mass tourism. There is a strain on water resources, resulting in an increase in waste discharge into the sea and there is a cultural disruption. Whilst accelerated coastal erosion and changes in the ecosystem will bring drastic changes to coastal tourism, Malta faces challenges from rising sea levels, coastal flooding and challenges to the fishing industry. Today should be the first day of a future without carbon.”

Hon Jose Herrera, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment addressed the event commenting “An evolution towards a low carbon economy will bring with it challenges as well as opportunities for Malta. For this to be a success, we need to work together to realise this vision. Malta’s economy can gain a lot from proper environmental policies. By chartering the road ahead to decarbonize our future development, we can capitalize upon the socio-economic prospects and offer greener employment prospects with a resultant improvement in our environment.”

Dr Anton Theuma, Founder of Paragon Europe explained how this conference is based on three important dimensions namely the European dimension that gathers the EU Commission’s expectation re-climate challenges, the Mediterranean dimension due to the geographical positions and the Maltese dimension as a Mediterranean country.

“We are facing a huge challenge linked to zero-carbon environment. Malta can claim leadership of this challenge due to its economic status in Europe and has the greatest opportunity to drive the relevant changes we really need to move to a zero-carbon economy. Although there is no one size fits all solution, we can action the right plan together with all stakeholders to make it happen by 2030. Public-private partnerships can be good mechanisms if we know how to make them work well and Malta can also be an innovation hub through stakeholder engagement and by using the best resources we have to make this a successful exercise,” said Dr Anton Theuma.

“Climate-KIC’s mission is to transform cities by promoting initiatives that bring lower carbon levels and a more sustainable environment. In the long-term, our initiatives will also lead to lower implementation costs with results that deliver more value to the community. The community needs to be involved. It needs to become a leading stakeholder. Collaborating with Climate-KIC brings a lot of potential particularly through the new collaborations and partnerships that can be fostered for reaching common goal,” added Mr Theuma.

Other keynote speakers during this conference included global experts such as Kirsten Dunlop, Chief Executive Officer, Climate-KIC, Dario della Sala, Head of Division “Sustainable Materials”, ENEA, Giovanni Pavesi, CEO, Linde Gas Italy, Jochen Froebrich, Coordinator of Water and AgriFood, WssTP and Professors C.S Psomopoulos and G.C. Ioannides, Electrical Engineering Department, Piraeus University of Applied Sciences.

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