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PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE AND PLANNING

Reference Number: PR200255, Press Release Issue Date: Feb 17, 2020
Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia addresses the HARMONY Project Steering Committee meetin
​The unprecedented challenges and stresses that our seas are facing call for urgent action to be taken at a national, regional, and international level, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia said. 
 
The Minister was speaking during a meeting of the HARMONY Committee Steering meeting on an Interreg Italia-Malta project aimed at enhancing marine biodiversity protection.
 
“Coming from a small island state, which has known its dependence on the seas which surround it, this project encompasses the very essence of the way in which we should all contribute to safeguarding our seas. Our forefathers knew this very well, and lived in ‘harmony’ with the seas which surround our islands,” he said. 
 
“But over the years, humankind has exploited marine resources, without much thought about the long-lasting repercussions of such exploitation. The importance of marine biodiversity protection cannot be understated. Changes in our seas affect our jobs and markets. And if we want to survive — our seas need to survive,” he continued. 
 
The Minister praised the cooperation efforts, saying that in light of global pressure, the participation and cooperation between Malta and Italy in this project, is commendable. “This cooperation highlights the importance of working together on communal issues, such as the marine biodiversity protection, which this project focuses upon. The aspect which I find most fascinating with regard to the HARMONY project is the role and the involvement of local communities,” Minister Farrugia said. 
 
The project aims for a set of monitoring and control measures between Italy and Malta in order to lead to better understanding of marine ecosystem functioning in a cross-border context. It will be developing integrated actions and measures to suggest management plans of Natura 2000 sites and habitats relating to seafloor integrity and non-indigenous species. 
 
The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) is one of the Maltese partners in this project.