Eradicating our heritage?

What are the first few things that come up to your mind when you think of Sliema?  Well probably traffic, lack of parking and blocks of flats.  But somewhere, behind the facade of blocks of concrete we still find some remnants of the past; buildings which seem to be of another era.

Overdevelopment and the demolition of landmarks, such as old buildings seems to have become commonplace with some developers. One of the clearest examples is Sliema. While almost the entire coastal strip is now filled with monotonous concrete blocks, one might still find some of Sliema’s iconic townhouses.

The latest case of the demolishing of a 155-year old townhouse is totally unacceptable!  Buildings from the 19th Century should be given a conservation priority and not be allowed converted into flats.


Moreover, it is shameful how, despite so many objections from NGOs, the Sliema local council and residents, such developments are given the green light.  Do the authorities ever listen to the people or are they only keen on over-developing the island and making contractors even richer than they already are?

We from ADŻ Malta Green Youth strongly oppose the demolition of our cultural heritage.  We urge the authorities to listen to us, the citizen majority and not contractors and to safeguard our heritage.  We already lost too much in the previous years and cannot afford to lose more.  It is important to act as soon as possible before it is too late and we lose even more of our limited cultural heritage we still have left!

Pascal Aloisio – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Publications Officer


Maghtab to get 22,000 solar panels

The recent proposal to install 22,000 panels at Maghtab seems pretty attractive for Malta. While indeed this decision is likely to yield more good than cause harm, nothing in this world is perfect and without an opportunity cost to consider.  Some issues will inevitably surround such projects and this brings with it several concerns.

Our first point for discussion is the issue of visual impacts. This largely depends on the type of panels used. Photovoltaic (Solar) Panels may have a high level of reflection, which could have an impact on wildlife, including birds which are attracted by these areas of panels because they mistake them for water bodies, which may result in injuries or death. But also humans may be negatively affected by the farm. Could the solar farm reflect light into drivers paths, say on the Coast Road, thus causing an obstruction to drivers?  Another visual impact that might arise is that due to power lines needed to transport energy.  We hope this won’t be the case and call for the authorities to carry out a visual impact assessment if such power lines are required.


Speaking of Power Lines; centralised energy generation isn’t always ideal to the energy losses it incurs. Therefore it’s always better to set up solar panels directly at the place of consumption whereby this will keep energy losses at a minimal.

Finally we would also like to inquire why the area earmarked for the solar farm won’t be used for landscaping purposes as originally planned.  While it is completely understandable that the place cannot be used as a recreational area for the public due to safety reasons it would still be a good idea to make use of landscaping techniques to improve the visual aspect of the old landfill.

Overall, we from ADŻ Malta Green Youth welcome the proposal of a solar farm at Magħtab due to the past landuse of the site. It seems like benefits will outweigh the costs but it is still too early in the day to make such judgements.

5 New Year Resolutions you could make

Spend more time in open spaces

Whether you decide to go for a walk, have a picnic or observe migrating birds and animals in their natural habitat, spending more time in green patches will greatly improve your mental health and also help you appreciate the beauty of the natural world.



Exercise more often

Engaging in any form of exercise does not only help to cut some extra weight you’ve gained in the holiday season, but also helps control stress due to the release of endorphins.



Travel less by car

Leaving the car at the garage will reduce your carbon footprint while often saving you money. In case, you opt for cycling your way, you get the benefit of some extra exercise as well.


Eat less meat

Animal agriculture produces 18% of greenhouse gases, it is one of the key activities causing climate change, not to mention the poor conditions in factory farms. You do not have to become vegan, but taking meatless Mondays and trying to cut down on animal products would render your lifestyle more sustainable and your body might thank you.



Give something back

While we believe that social justice is more dignifying than charity, there will always be some instances where a helping hand would be welcome. You may help out at a local community center, turn up for a cleanup or raise awareness about social and environmental cause you deeply care about. And you may always join ADŻ and support us with our vision for a fair and sustainable Malta.


Daniel Desira – ADŻ Public Relations Officer

The situation in Aleppo

In the light of recent turn of events in Aleppo, whereby the Syrian government is murdering civilians, the actions of both Assad’s dictatorship with Russia and Iran’s backing and the rebel forces are to be condemned. The international community should be doing more to restore peace.

Mideast Syria

In this image made from video and posted online from Validated UGC, a man carries a child after airstrikes hit Aleppo, Syria, Thursday, April 28, 2016. A Syrian monitoring group and a first-responders team say new airstrikes on the rebel-held part of the contested city of Aleppo have killed over a dozen people and brought down at least one residential building. The new violence on Thursday brings the death toll in the past 24-hours in the deeply divided city to at least 61 killed. (Validated UGC via AP video)

What has been happening in Syria during the last months has led many civilians to flee and seek refuge in other countries, thus fuelling the influx of refugees in the Mediterranean, whereby not all make it.

There are several ways in which the EU can help safeguard the lives of civilians in Aleppo and elsewhere:

  1. Sanction arms trade by Member States.
  2. Stop any trade with Iran and Russia.
  3. Send appropriate humanitarian aid to Aleppo.
  4. Open the borders while making sure that all member states contribute to the refugee crisis depending on their economic and geological factors. Refugees’ well-being and right to a fulfilling life and the principles of burden sharing and free movement should be adhered to.

Moreover, there shouldn’t be more intervention. The USA and UK’s decision to bomb Syria has resulted in nothing but the death of more innocent civilians and the recruitment of more terrorists by extremist groups. An attack on Assad may serve as empowerment to the rebels hence act more of a disruption to the path to peace.

Daniel Desira – ADZ Public Relations Officer

Jum ir-Repubblika

Illum id-data hija 13 ta’ Diċembru 2016 – 42 sena ilu, Malta ġiet iddikkjarata bħala Repubblika. Għal ħafna dan il-jum ifisser biss ġurnata bla xogħol jew bla skola, għax sempliċiment hija festa pubblika. Pero, għalkemm it-tifsira ta’ dan il-jum tant importanti forsi ntilef għal ħafna, huwa importanti li nibqgħu nfakkruh, u min nesa issa jiftakar u jirrikonoxxi.

Wara li Malta ħadet l-Indipendenza mir-Renju Unit fil-21 ta’ Settembru 1964, il-poplu Malti ħa ddritt li jiggverna għal rasu, iżda ħass li kien ħaqqu jinqata’ darba għal dejjem mill-Imperu, u Malta ssir Repubblika. Taħt il-Gvern Laburista ta’ Dom Mintoff, bħal-lum fl-1974, Malta ġiet iddikkjarata bħala Repubblika. Iżda din xi tfisser għal pajjiżna?


Sal-Indipendenza, Malta kienet kolonja. Wara l-Indipendenza, Malta saret stat indipendenti birReġina tal-Ingilterra bħala Kap tal-Istat ta’ Malta. Meta fl-1974, fil-Kamra tad-Deputati ġew ippreżentati numru ta’ emendi lill-Kostituzzjoni, fosthom li Malta ssir Repubblika, il-Membri Parlamentari b’maġġoranza kbira approvawhom, u fl-aħħar, Malta ħelset mill-Imperu Ingliż darba għal dejjem. Il-Kap tal-Istat dakinhar inbidel, u flok ir-Reġina tar-Renju Unit, ġie maħtur is-Sur Anthony Mamo bħala l-ewwel President tar-Repubblika ta’ Malta, filwaqt li Dom Mintoff kien lewwel Prim Ministru tar-Repubblika ta’ Malta.

Din il-festa għandha tifsira kbira għall-istorja politika Maltija, u tal-poplu Malti kollu. Il-poplu Malti wera u għandu responsabbiltà kbira li jkompli juri lid-dinja li vera kiber, u sar nazzjon.

Glen Spiteri – ADŻ Malta Green Youth Spokesperson

A Taste of COP

I have recently participated in Alter COP22, an event parallel to COP22 (Conference of the Parties) organised by the Federation of Young European Greens (FYEG) with the aim of giving a better perspective of what’s happening at the negotiations. The event was held during the last week of COP (13th to 19th November) in Marrakesh.

To start with, this edition of COP has focused on the implementation of the Paris agreement (COP21), with the following targets for 2018:

  1. A rulebook for implementation of the Paris Agreement by 2018
  2. National climate action plans to help countries achieve the target of less than 2⁰C global warming by 2050
  3. Who will make up for climate funding and how.

The possible consequence of Trump’s election has been raised in several discussions throughout the weekend. Despite Trump being virtually unable to withdraw from the Paris agreement in his first and hopefully last presidency, the agreement has lost a key leader. Europe should take back the lead if we are to meet our target. On a more positive note, China’s emissions have now stabilised.

15046891_1233465760051724_2378866111899762688_nAnother interesting note is that developing countries are investing more in renewables. It’s up to developed countries to do the same while funding developing countries’ mitigation and adaptation plans. It was also nice to see what civil society activists from the global south had to say – while investment in renewables is good news, the illegal occupation of Western Sahara is not. For this reason, global south natives should be included in the negotiations. Shockingly, the Moroccan regime has jailed poor people on the streets prior to hosting COP22. Moreover, as Europeans we should seek not to create a new debt with the global south, through trade deals like CETA and TTIP that would allow for the transportation of fossil fuels even if governments take sensible action.


On Thursday 17th, we have performed an action in front of the COP22 Green Zone, in order to highlight the greenwashing at COP, especially with the influence big polluters like Shell and BP still enjoy, and the need for funds necessary for developing countries.


The negotiations have made some progress with $100 billion to be provided to developing countries and increased focus on adaptation. However, big polluters need to be kicked out or encouraged to become cleaner, human rights infringements in the global south in the name of clean energy need to be addressed, the aviation industry’s emissions should be regulated and Europe should regain its lead.

Daniel Desira – ADZ Public Relations Officer

My COP Experience

Climate change, climate justice, climate action – We’ve been hearing these catch terms all week and it’s all about the climate, but what do they really mean? What are we really doing about it? Despite having the Paris Agreement, are we doing enough to seriously tackle these issues?

So, Welcome to COP22. I am currently in Marrakesh, as part of the Federation of Young European Greens delegations attending the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1) as well as the Conference of Parties “COP22” under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). I have been attending plenary sessions, negotiations and side events. I also had the opportunity to meet and discuss different issues with people all around the world, from China to Kenya to Germany  and it’s evident – we have a serious problem, and not one- many.



This is not my first experience in a big conference but it is probably the largest conference I’ve attended and the first day of COP was slightly overwhelming until we got the agendas organised, but once I knew what I had to do and where I had to go then everything settled down. I am following different discussions throughout the days regarding climate change, agriculture and water, depending on the theme set out for the day. The negotiations which I have followed were purely observational and very technical but extremely informative. COP21 set the framework even though it proved to be slightly ambitious and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) is one of the topics which countries are challenged with along with transparency, global stocktake (referring to the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement), Loss and Damage and Capacity Building. COP22 is said to be the year of Action.

The venue is really nice and I must admit, it is decorated mostly using recycled items. Despite plastic and cans still being sold, most of the things we use are either made from paper or wood. The facade of Marrakesh pavilion is set up with wood pallets while the restaurants, chairs and tables are made from reprocessed wood.

The food is miserably over priced and despite us here advocating for food security as one of the many topics, there is so much food waste and so much meat. The food offered does not cater at all for vegetarians or vegans and is at least four times the price you would pay in the Medina. The welcome party on Monday night made me feel hypocritical. We are pushing change-driven ideas, coming up with innovative ways of tackling climate issues yet we are here luxuriously celebrating our presence and debating climate issues while other countries some of which are represented here, have families in their country living in poverty, with not enough food to eat, no drinkable water and roof over their head to sleep this evening. This is our reality and these are the issues which what need to be tackled. All this leads me to a big question – has this conference been sustainable or not? My quick and evident answer is No.

Back to the technical aspect of COP22 and the Paris Agreement; Marrakesh has been a historical moment for humanity but I am curious about so many other things. For example, how can we communicate the highly detailed Paris Agreement to the local citizens and insinuate small-scale changes to contribute to the wider perspective, when many are highly influenced by their culture and lifestyle? On the other hand, how can we stop large corporations from continuing to damage the environment due to their activities, when their interests are financial and/or political. Ultimately, how can we get our Governments to listen?

The Paris Agreement set the framework which ratifying parties promise to abide by in order to control the carbon emissions and the state of the environment. The Paris Agreement alone will not solve the problems we are facing and it is therefore the responsibility of Governments, stakeholders and the public to engage and take on responsibility for the decisions that we take.

Danika Formosa  – ADŻ International Secretary

ADZ on Budget 2017

We as Alternattiva Demokratika Zghazagh had several expectations including a rise in minimum wage, more initiatives for alternative transport and measures to address a range of issues relating to the environment and our quality of life. Most initiatives smack of tokenism rather than a result of a longterm vision . We are very disappointed that no plan to revise how the minimum wage is calculated has been announced. Those most vulnerable in the economy deserve to be paid decent wages. A truly progressive government, we feel, would have addressed this issue, as recommended by several including Caritas.

The planned promotion of sports and healthy living through sports facilities in Fgura, a BMX park and the raising of taxes on cigarettes and soft-drinks will go some way in tackling public health issues. There is also an urgent need for the implementation of a sustainable mobility plan, moving from the drawing board to execution. Unfortunately such plans are not courageous enough, and fall short of our vision for sustainable mobility and the move towards a zero-carbon economy.

Students are a major group of commuting citizens. Everyday students must leave their residences and make their way to their college/school. They can walk, take the bus, cycle, use private communal transport or their own cars or motorbikes. As more people use cars as the preferred mode of transport, the islands’ roads are becoming more congested. Major roads do not cater for cyclists, in that they do not have bike lanes. It is important that cycling ‘highways’ are created linking all major educational establishments and built-up areas. The lack of safety on mjor traffic arteries are one major factor which discourages commuting by bicycle or pedelecs. This Budget has not seen any important initiatives to encourage alternative modes of transport.

Although the Budget has some positive measures to reduce individual car use, such as incentives for free communal transport for private and government entities, there is still a long way to go in this regard.

The installation of bike racks as proposed by the budget is in itself a good idea, however this is the bare minimum and far from what would actually encourage people to take up their bikes as a regular mode of commuting. Stricter enforcement of road regulations, a major expansion of bike lanes and significant incentives on electric assisted bikes – pedelecs – which are particularly suitable for longer distances over 8km and hilly routes.

Some people still think that people in rich and developed countries use cars to commute – in fact the opposite is happening – well educated people in developed countries are choosing bicycles and pedelecs to move around and lots of cities in the EU spend money on bicycle infrastructure. The results are less cars on the road, a healthier population, cleaner air and a better quality of life.

Bird trapping season

Yesterday marked the start of the finch trapping season despite EU action, showing complete disregard towards our international obligations as a country, animal welfare and nature conservation.

The PN is not opposed to this decision, despite recently trying to appeal to animal lovers and environmentalists.

Trapping clears away considerable patches of land from Meditarrean vegetation and puts song birds behind the bars for their shortened lifetime. It’s about time to put an end to this madness!


Daniel Desira – ADZ Public Relations Officer

Budget 2017 – Our Expectations

Budget 2017 in a nutshell – here are some highlights that us at ADZ are expecting

  • Minimum Wage: We have long argued that a strong booming economy in Malta is reason enough to raise the minimum wage. We feel that increasing the minimum wage to a rate which reflects today’s economy and society would uplift communities, increase spending power and help families make ends meet.

  • Road Safety: In recent light of traffic accidents, including unfortunate fatalities, we feel that part of the Budget should be dedicated to road safety measures which include extensive educational advertising campaigns by Government and Transport Malta to encourage road education, improvement in road quality to higher standards and increase penalties for traffic violation. Traffic fines should be allocated accordingly to improve the state in which many roads are to be found.

  • Open Spaces: a percentage of the Budget should be allocated to creating open spaces with emphasis on indigenous species, park facilities and recreational areas for families. We believe such investments are important for the well being of many communities in terms of health and living standards.

  • Energy: Clean energy targets have to be reached by 2020, so we believe further funds should be allocated to building solar farms and introduce new government rebates on solar panel purchase for households and businesses.

  • Education: The cornerstone of any society and educational system should well-funded. State schools should receive better funding for maintenance and educational programs as well as for the modernization of educational institutions such as MCAST and the University of Malta. Existing schools should be expanded to reflect growth in population and new schools built within development zones with adequate sporting facilities.

  • Sports: We would like the Government to create an intensive educational campaign on obesity and the problems associated to seriously tackle the problem. Additionally, the long overdue sports village should receive sufficient funds for its’ purpose and students attending higher education institutes should have subsidised fees for gyms, sports activities and nutritional advice.

  • Health – Health centres and polyclinics should receive new funding for better equipment, customer service and medicines. St Lukes Hospital should receive a new embellishment scheme to introduce as a “new health village”. We also urge the government to enforce measures on air and sea quality and tackle drug and alcohol abuse. These measures could include educational campaigns and better law enforcement as well as counselling programmes. Mater Dei should receive the funding it requires to improve bed shortage, queue problems and customer service. We also hope that the Gozo General Hospital embellishment receives its funds to provide the best health service to Gozo.

  • Economic Inequality – the next budget should not only focus on the COLA but also increase the minimum wage as well as implement new initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship to elevate people from poverty. This initiative would give citizens an incentive to start new SMEs and small businesses. Pensions for our elderly should be increased according to the cost of living and continue funding for childcare centers for single parents.

  • Taxation: Contribution is important to any modern society but we believe in a fair contribution system whereby high earners contribute more than low earners and the income bracket at which to tax is elevated and the maximum tax bracket is increased.

  • Environment & Cultural Heritage – We strongly believe that necessary funds should be allocated to protect natural areas, for the introduction of more educational programs and campaigns on the environment and for the protection of wildlife and bird migration. Heavier penalties should be imposed on illegal dumping of waste. The Cleansing Directorate should be adequately funded to clean up Malta and cameras may be installed for more effective enforcement.

  • We recommend that a Wildlife Unit should be setup to handle poaching, illegal hunting and illegal fishing activities. More funding for agriculture and upkeep and general cleanliness of the Maltese countryside should be allocated also. Country roads should be well maintained. Historic and cultural buildings should receive funding and protection, as well as touristic promotion for locals and foreigners alike.

  • Traffic: We recomend carpooling programs, better public transport through increased investment, encouragement of water transport, better VRT regulations on emissions locally and on an EU level and funding towards traffic management systems during peak hours.

Today’s budget should reflect society and its needs. We are looking forward to the budget of social justice and towards progressive ideas to fund projects which help the Maltese citizens achieve a higher standard of living without forsaking its environment and culture.

We believe in a Budget that will tackle modern day issues and yet achieve results of a booming economy with a social conscious. This Budget should focus on growth of the economy without overspending and one that helps citizens feel that 2017 will be a year of progress and social justice.