PRESS RELEASE BY THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND ANIMAL RIGHTS: Climate Change amongst agricultural priorities for the Maltese Presidency

Agriculture in Europe is facing an unprecedented challenge with the ever-changing weather patterns and to this effect, the Maltese Presidency will hold a discussion on climate adaptation measures at an informal Council meeting in Valletta in May (21-23), where it will stimulate a debate on the role of research and innovation for the sustainable management of natural resources such as water.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Roderick Galdes said this advent of Climate Change will be one of the priorities of the Maltese Presidency in this sector, as it continues to have a significant impact on agriculture in peripheral and marginal areas. This is rendering agricultural practices more difficult and less cost-effective, particularly due to the increased unpredictability of weather patterns.

“In this regard, adaptation to climate change and lower greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) will be necessary to achieve food security and agricultural development goals. Furthermore, enhancing food security while contributing to mitigate climate change and preserving the natural resource base and vital ecosystem services requires the transition to agricultural production systems that are more productive, efficient, and resilient to shocks and long-term climate variability,” Parliamentary Secretary Galdes said.

Malta will oversee talks on how the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) can incentivise farm innovation and support more sustainable, climate-friendly production. Malta recognises the need for the CAP to better respond to current challenges.

Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes added that Malta will continue working on the ongoing CAP simplification, to reduce red-tape for farmers, operators and national administrations alike. The scope is to enhance competitiveness and ensure the continued sustainability of the agricultural sector. This is especially important pending the important decisions on future financing.

“We need to keep in mind the important connection between agriculture and environment. To this effect Malta will steer discussions on Commission reports on the implementation of CAP greening measures (due to be published in the coming weeks) and how this policy can incentivise farm innovation and support more sustainable, climate-friendly production,” Parliamentary Secretary Galdes noted.

The Maltese Presidency will strive to reach a balanced EU position which reflects European efforts to protect and sustainably manage forests, eventually presenting this position at the United Nations Forum on Forests in New York, in May 2017.

The Maltese Presidency will ultimately strive to build on the work carried out by its predecessors to ensure continuity in the work of the Council.

Source: Government of Malta.