Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion, and I thank you for your presence here today. This well-established appointment in the Ministry’s annual calendar is a reflection of the continuous commitment towards International Development by local Development Non-Governmental Organisations, this Ministry and the Government of Malta.
Development Assistance, based on the value of solidarity, continues to be one of the strategic objectives that this Ministry firmly upholds. I believe that we cannot achieve this without the valuable role of local Development NGOs.
I take this opportunity to thank the various members of Non-Governmental Development Organisations present here today for your sterling work and your ongoing efforts to carry out development projects away from our shores, to promote empowerment, capacity-building, as well as social and economic growth, in countries needing most assistance.
Malta remains fully committed towards long-term sustainable growth in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Our country firmly believes that it is important to participate in efforts by the international community in development assistance, with the primary objective of eradicating poverty. These projects provide Malta with the opportunity to contribute towards achieving a fair and sustainable world.
Malta’s Official Development Policy remains a central theme in our Foreign Policy, and reflects our values in terms of solidarity, care, and goodwill.
In this regard, we have formulated an Implementation Plan, which sets the basis for the implementation Malta’s Official Development Policy through to 2030, in response to the adoption of the European Consensus on Development and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Malta’s ODA Policy will continue to be implemented in close collaboration, and regular consultation, with local Development NGOs, who are the Government’s essential partners in setting this Policy in motion.
I am honoured to announce that, on behalf of the Government of Malta, I will deliver our country’s first Voluntary National Review during the High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, which is taking place at the UN in New York in two weeks’ time.
The VNR reports on progress achieved so far in Malta and Gozo in terms of the collective agreed targets at a national level.
For the proposals selected this year, the Ministry opted for online submissions of applications through the website of the MCVS, Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, in line with the Government policy to reduce bureaucracy. I am pleased to say that this has proved successful and we shall keep on improving such facilities.
The Ministry’s call for ODA project proposals enables us to mobilise the expertise and capacity of local Development NGOs in a range of sectors to accomplish Malta’s commitment towards international development. Your involvement among local communities in developing countries means that you are perfectly placed to promote capacity-building and strong societies at a local level.
No matter how small our steps towards sustainable development targets might be, those that we are making today mark the continuation of our efforts to empower people in developing countries to make the world they live in, a better one, themselves.
The Ministry’s vision on Africa has led to the development of a Strategy on Africa, which will see the opening of a High Commission in Ghana, and also the appointment of a non-resident Ambassador to Ethiopia, and the African Union. These appointments will enable the relations between Malta and the African continent to be further enhanced.
The new Implementation Plan will allocate special preference to projects implemented in African countries, in particular where Malta has representation on the ground. The aim is to assist the NGDOs in implementing their projects while at the same time ensuring that relations with the local authorities are facilitated.
The development projects co-financed this year will all be implemented in Africa. I am certain that, once completed, these projects will build more resilient communities, where people have a better chance of combatting famine, benefit from improved access to proper healthcare, and increase their chances to an education.
Ultimately, the scope of these projects is to impact positively on people’s lives and, eventually, also addresses the root causes of migration.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank you once again for your relentless and valuable work, and augur you deserved success in the implementation of these projects.