Malta National Biodiversity Platform Launching Workshop
27th October 2003 
The Malta National Biodiversity Platform, which was launched on 27th of October 2003 through a workshop, will support the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy.  The Malta bioplatform partner to this European biodiversity project is the Conservation Research Group of the University of Malta, co-ordinated by Dr. Adriana Vella, Ph.D.  This bioplatform project is being financed by the European Union.

The Bioplatform is a forum for scientists and policy makers with the purpose of ensuring the contribution of research to halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010.  Indeed, the 28 European countries participating in this project will need to deal with their unique economic, cultural and natural backgrounds while sharing the experience from other countries toward biodiversity research and conservation.

Biodiversity can no longer be taken lightly due to the rate with which it is being impoverished world wide. The Convention for Biological Diversity of 1993 is an international effort toward the realisation of the importance biodiversity plays in our everyday lives and future survival of this planet.  In Malta, the Environment Protection Act of 1991 was an important step toward nature consideration.  However, the pending requirements for accurate knowledge of our local biodiversity and the lack of funds devoted to research in this area may be the cause for continued degradation of the diversity of natural resources on and around our Islands.

Sustainable development issues that have been taken up as the way forward for this biodiversity conservation requirement, have often limited themselves to economic sustainability rather than the real need to plan development without further loss to local biodiversity.

It is, therefore, necessary for the National Biodiversity platform in Malta to target the immediate needs in biodiversity research, policy improvements and conservation measures.  Various sectors of government and non-government entities were given the opportunity to discuss local biodiversity needs and suggest ideas at the launching workshop held at the University of Malta.  The opening speech by Pro-Rector of the University of Malta, Prof. J. Bannister, paved the way for other speakers including Mr. R. Meussner from Portugalís Bioplatform coordinating team, and Dr. A. Vella for Maltaís bioplatform, followed by representatives from various government and non-government departments.

One of the upcoming challenges will include encouraging entities such as the media and press to consider issues and requirements to biodiversity awareness and protection as a priority as well, in order to promote its local value to both young and adults, locals and tourists.  Another important local requirement will be to increase funds for biodiversity research in order the increase the required scientific knowledge for sustainable development and conservation management.  The real economic value of biodiversity has very often been underestimated and it is for this reason that the core discussions at the workshop centred around the topic of biodiversity  as our natural capital.