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PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND CLIMATE CHANGE Minister for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change - José Herrera addresses the Third Sustainability Summit in Athens

Reference Number: PR192202, Press Release Issue Date: Oct 16, 2019
Minister for Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change José Herrera addresses the Third Sustainability Summit in Athens
Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change José Herrera was one of the speakers during the third Sustainability Summit for South-East Europe and the Mediterranean, being held in Athens under the auspices of the President of the Hellenic Republic. Minister Herrera delivered a speech, and later took part in a panel discussion in the ‘Environmental and Sustainable Development Challenges: Making the Future Present’ segment.
Minister Herrera said that a healthy and sustainable environment is a right for all and, as stated in the Rio Declaration, in order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it. He stated that ensuring and safeguarding Malta’s natural capital has been an integral part of the government’s agenda for the past years.
He explained that Malta has implemented, and will continue to implement, initiatives that embrace sustainable practices through the promotion of circular economy principles that limit the amount of waste and extend the life cycle of natural resources within our economy. With regards to enhancing our natural capital, Minister Herrera explained that Malta has set up a dedicated national agency to valorise our natural capital and green our urban areas, which will enable Malta to increase its adaptive climate action. With regards to climate change and air quality, the government has undertaken various measures with the aim of mitigating emissions and addressing vulnerabilities. 
Minister Herrera stated that Malta is currently working on the development of a new Sustainable Development Strategy and Action Plan, with a horizon of up to 2050. He also emphasised that the government has aligned the budget measures for 2020 with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will ensure that the SDGs are factored into all decision-making processes and thus applied at all levels.  
“Sustainable development is about securing the collective rather than the individualistic interests.  Involving a wide range of stakeholders will provide us policymakers with a holistic perspective, address potential trade-offs, give voice to diverse interests, raise public awareness and create a sense of ownership.  This will give us the strength we need, to turn our aspirations into reality, for the benefit of families and communities across our world,” concluded Minister Herrera.
Minister Herrera was accompanied to this summit by the Ambassador of Malta to Greece Joseph Cuschieri.