The 7th EkoSkola Parliamentary Session
The Annual EkoSkola parliamentary session was held at the House of Representatives for the seventh consecutive year. This event was organized by Nature Trust (Malta), the local representatives of FEE (Foundation for Environmental Education) who run the Eco-Schools programme, under the auspices of the Office of the Speaker. This year’s event was a particularly special one as this year marks the 90th anniversary of the setting up of the House of Representatives.
This event brought together students participating in the local EkoSkola programme and the country’s main policy makers. The theme for this year’s session was Climate Change. This session was the culmination of the HSBC-Eco-Schools Climate Initiative that promoted school-based initiatives aimed at combating Climate Change by reducing emissions from schools and homes. Fifty-six Maltese schools participated in this international project involving 18 different countries (including Malta).
Students recited the opening prayer and presented a motion by Eko-Skola. These were followed by interventions from ten schools who presented a report of their respective School-Community Link Project. An offshoot of the HSBC-Eco-Schools Climate Initiative, these School-Community Link Projects were set up to financially support schools in their plans to initiate community based sustainability projects targeting Climate Change. Schools were invited to come up with original, innovative projects to demonstrate how their school can become a hub of Climate Change action by working with and within their local communities.
The implemented projects included various community awareness raising initiatives about energy and water consumption; walking bus; waste management; production of audio-visual media; development of sustainable spaces; healthy lifestyles and intergenerational joint initiatives. Besides presenting an array of examples of good practice, students urged Members of Parliament to support them in ensuring a good quality of life for their future.
The parliamentary sitting was chaired by the Hon. Speaker, Dr Michael Frendo. A total of twenty one MPs attended the session. Forty six schools were hosted, ten of which gave their proposals to the House.
The Eko-Skola programme includes a total of 106 participating schools from Malta and Gozo, with more than 42,000 students as active participants. It was first introduced locally in 2002. The initial pilot project was started with the participation of six schools. Since then the number of schools kept increasing, and nineteen have managed to acquire the Green Flag – an internationally renowned eco-label for a school’s serious commitment to environmental improvement.
Gozo College Xewkija Primary presented their community project they implemented at Xewkija Parish Church with the support of the Parish Priest, Mgr Carmelo Mercieca. They had spoken to the Sunday Mass congregation on three Sundays and informed them about climate change, in particular the need to be cautious on the use of water, use of clean energy and the effects of transport. Representatives from four other schools from the Gozo College, Boys’ Secondary School, Nadur Primary, Qala Primary and Sannat Primary attended this event. All students were seated next to the MPs in parliament.
The Eko-Skola programme is supported by the Ministry of Education, Employment and the Family; the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs, the Ministry for Gozo; Parliamentary Secretariat for Tourism; HSBC Bank Malta and WasteServ as its main sponsors.