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Basic information

Year of approval of the
SD strategy and updates

NSDS was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers in December 2007. However on the 10th of July 2012 the Sustainable Development Act came into force.

Type of SD strategy

NSDS covers all three dimensions of SD but the Sustainable Development Act sets a strengthened framework to mainstream sustainable development across all levels of government.

Lead ministry/institution in
the SD strategy process

Responsibility for the coordination and implementation of the NSDS as specified within the Sustainable Development Act lies within the Ministry of Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change (MSDEC), a task assigned by the Prime Minister in 2013.  Since MSDEC became the Competent Authority for purposes of the same Act, the Ministry then immediately ensured that all the structures established by the Act were setup, together with the necessary administrative support.

Link to the SD strategy

'A Sustainable Development Strategy for the Maltese Islands 2007-2016' (2006)

The full list(s) of NSDS objectives as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:

Further information about
the SD strategy process
  1. Analysis of Public Consultation (2006)
  2. National Commission for SD (2004)
  3. Sustainable Development Act (2012)


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National Implementation of 2030 Agenda for SD

Policy integration in government is central to the sustainable development paradigm and presents a key governance challenge in pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This is particularly the case in view of the rising complexity of social problems and global issues with important national and local impacts such as climate change. Effective policy integration is all the more important given the range of expertise from different institutions and sectors required to tackle the SDGs, as well as demands for more innovative, responsive and equitable service delivery, which transcend the competencies of individual ministries. While policy integration is central to the sustainable development paradigm, bringing about the delivery of integrated policies is a daunting challenge, especially in developing countries where, for example, administrative silos are prevalent


Leading Ministry and
respective unit

Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change. (MSDEC)

Sustainable Development Directorate

Other ministries involved

Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA)

National Statistics Office (NSO)

Main contact point for the
implementation process

George Said


Tel:- +356 22926283    

Links to main websites/
documents on national
implementation of the
2030 Agenda and SDGs

Links have to be yet established through our website.

Annual SD Reports:



SD Indicators Reports:



Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development


Voluntary National Reviews [No information available]


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Mechanisms of Vertical Integration

National — sub-national linkages

Generally, the structure for SD policy-making is very centralised in Malta. The main reason for this is that local authorities have limited responsibilities and also lack resources (technical, financial, etc).

Following the Rio +20 Summit on Sustainable Development organised by the United Nations in June 2012, Malta undertook the task to provide a legislative framework through which government can integrate sustainable development in its operations as well as raising awareness on sustainable development issues across all strata and sectors of government and society in general.  The Act provides for the establishment of three structures to drive the sustainable development agenda.  These are namely the Competent Authority which is responsible for a number of functions as defined by the Act; the Guardian of Future Generations entrusted with promoting sustainable development principles and safeguarding the interests of future generations; and the Sustainable Development Network responsible for promoting sustainable development locally.

The major responsibility for the planning and implementation of the sustainable development policies lies with the national level supplemented by a direct input by local authorities and sectoral ministries.

EU linkages

The renewed EU Strategy for Sustainable Development (EU SDS) that was adopted in June 2006 foresees that Member States bi-annually report about how they address the priorities of the EU SDS. Malta has published its first national report on implementing the EU SDS in July 2007.


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Mechanisms of Horizontal Integration

The Sustainable Development Directorate within MSDEC  has the objective to ensure that Government ministries and other state bodies carry out their responsibilities in implementing the NSDS and other implementation measures which originate from the Sustainable Development Act.

The Competent Authority sought and obtained approval for the creation of an ad hoc Directorate for Sustainable Development so as to strengthen the organisational set-up and provide a greater impetus to the sustainable development agenda.  The Directorate has been entrusted with the task of building and enhancing capacity both within MSDEC and also across the other Government Ministries to ensure effective mainstreaming of sustainable development parameters across Government policy making. The structure aims at providing the necessary components to facilitate sustainable development implementation across the board, particularly given the collective impetus each Ministry needs to make to ascertain the achievements of common objectives.


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Evaluation and Review

Monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy lies within the responsibility of MSDEC.

Part IV, Article 14 of the Sustainable Development Act requires the Competent Authority to produce a report to be submitted to the Minister in charge of the Sustainable Development, delineating generally the activities carried out by the Competent Authority on an annual basis. In terms of the Act the Minister shall provide a copy of the report to be laid on the Table of the House of Representatives and a debate held thereon as soon as practicable.

This Annual Report provides information about the work undertaken by the Government concerning sustainable development throughout, the previous year, the report also aims to enable all interesting stakeholders to gain a good understanding of how sustainable development is planned to be mainstreamed. In this context it is all the ministries across Government, together with their respective departments and entities that, through their programme of works contribute towards ensuring sustainability.


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Indicators and Monitoring

The Maltese NSDS includes a set of 24 indicators which are referred to as ‘headline indicators’. The indicators are grouped according to the top-level goals outlined in the NSDS (these are the three pillars of SD plus ‘Cross-cutting strategic issues’). Additionally, 2 of the indicators are associated with the implementation of the strategy.

In order to adequately measure and evaluate progress the indicators outlined in the present SD Strategy have been computed and communicated with the assistance of the National Statistics Office. Indicators facilitate the decision making process and these are to be revised and updated in accordance with ongoing developments within the Sustainable Development framework. 

A list together with Data on Sustainable Indicators for Malta can be found at:

The full list(s) of indicators as identified by a study commissioned by Eurostat can be downloaded here:


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The delegation of the Competent Authority to the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change (MSDEC) was given on the 4th of June, 2013 by the Prime Minister.

The Competent Authority obligation in accordance to Article 5 and 6 of the said Act is to provide the fabric required to maintain the dissemination, collation of information, the Implementation and permeation of sustainable development across all governing entities. It entails realising the revision and implementation of the sustainable development strategy and developing related indicators whilst making sure that other entities’ strategies and plans are in line with sustainability objectives as well as identifying trends and carry out audits to evaluate sustainable development integration within government policy. The Competent Authority is also required to ‘encourage and simulate good practices’ with respect to the utilisation of resources and work closely at local level with different stakeholders.

The Competent Authority also has the faculty of issuing recommendations at various governing levels as well as triggering amongst others, training, projects, initiatives and has the capacity of ‘requesting information from the public administration’.


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Sub-national activities

In line with Malta 2013-2015 Presidency of the Steering Committee of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development, MSDEC continued to actively lead the process towards finalising the first draft of the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development (MSSD), in time for the international stakeholder conference hosted by Malta in February 2015 on the draft strategy. The conference was opened by the Hon. Leo Brincat, and was well attended with around 100 participants, provided a strong platform for a wide-ranging stakeholder discussion, which increased buy-in for the revised strategy. Following the conference Malta continued to actively lead the process to finalise the draft Strategy in time for endorsement during the 16th meeting of the Mediterranean Commission for Sustainable Development (MCSD) held in June 2015 in Marrakesh. During this meeting Malta handed over the Presidency of the Steering Committee of the MCSD to Morocco, Malta continues to remain a member of the Steering Committee. Malta continued to actively support the approval of the Strategy and the reform of the Commission itself through its attendance at the UNEP/MAP Focal Points Meeting in Athens in October 2015, with a view to both proposals being adopted by the 19th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Convention in Athens in February 2016.


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This Country Profile has been last updated on: Friday, 27 January 2017

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