Sustainable Development can hardly be defined as sustainable if it does not result in a tangible and long-lasting improvement in quality of life. Eco-Gozo is an opportunity to further integrate education, health, the family and all social actors with the ultimate aim of fostering a society which is inclusive towards everyone.
Gozitan Society at large, will play a fundamental role in bringing about the change and the improvement necessary for the eco-island project to succeed. The great foresight and commitment to change shown in the public consultation now needs to be translated into action for the effective implementation of the vision recommendations and the continued development of the eco-Gozo idea.
Educational institutions in Gozo play a vital role in the socio-economic development of the island. While the levels up to secondary school provide the basic education to children and young people and prepare them for adulthood, it is MCAST, post-secondary schools, and the University (whether in Malta or in Gozo) that provide the skills and education for careers. MCAST is essential in providing training skills while the University Gozo Campus needs to become an ever-more strong and visible extension of the University of Malta in Gozo, and continue to be a relevant force in the socio-economic development of Gozo.
While awareness on eco-Gozo at primary and secondary levels facilitates the achievement of an eco-Gozo vision from an environmental perspective, post secondary education is the pillar to a sustainable economic and social framework in the longer term.
In this priority area, Government proposes to:
• Set up a permanent environmental science education centre in a rural area.
• Establish a permanent forum between the Ministry for Gozo, the University of Malta, Malta Enterprise, the Employment and Training Corporation and educational institutions in Gozo with a view to planning for the future demand of human resources skills.
• Set up a permanent briefing programme for guidance teachers in Gozo to keep them informed on Government's employment strategy for Gozo.
• Inform and update career teachers with labour market needs, the national employment strategy as well as the educational and training courses available.
• Develop the MCAST facilities and expand its course offerings in Gozo.
• Upgrade the technological infrastructure to facilitate internet use in Gozo and facilitate the proliferation of wide public Wi-Fi access.
Gozo is committed to the implementation of the European and Health Strategy 2004 – 2010 and its subsequent follow up, which typically present a vision on addressing environmental and health issues in a more integrated way. The Maltese Government's objective in improving the health status of the population of Malta and Gozo is:
"to add health to life by increasing years lived free from ill-health, reducing or minimising the adverse effects of illness and disability, promoting healthy lifestyles, physical and social environments and overall improving quality of life".
Government proposes to:
• Draw up a Master Plan for the Gozo General Hospital in order to meet the needs of the population for the next 25 years.
• Digitise medical records at the Gozo General Hospital.
• Strengthen the health promotion capacity in Gozo and launch a Healthy Eating Awareness campaign.
• Carry out an intervention programme for obese children or children at risk.
• Set up a working group to monitor, plan and implement the national alcohol and substance abuse strategies in Gozo in collaboration with operators on the island.
• Enhance health promotion activities and strengthen web-based awareness on substance and alcohol abuse.
In line with the "Medium Strategic Plan for enhancing Sport Culture in Malta 2007–2010", one of the eco-Gozo strategy's primary objectives is the achievement of a better quality of life. It is widely recognised through various research sources that a healthy diet combined with adequate physical activity can prevent the main avoidable risk factors in the development of a wide array of diseases. Physical activity is one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle.
Government proposes to:
• Develop a public indoor swimming pool which will make significant use of renewable energy.
• Create an official track around Gozo that could be promoted both within and outsideGozo.
• Identify and set up potential sites for camping in Gozo.
• Undertake a healthy lifestyle promotional campaign through schools and the mobilisation of all community actors, particularly through the eco-Gozo school programme also promoting the importance of recreational activities for children.
2.4 Sectorial Issues
The vision document on eco-Gozo focuses also on a number of sectors, namely children, families, youth, persons with disability and the elderly.
The vision document on eco-Gozo focuses also on a number of sectors, namely children, families, youth, persons with disability and the elderly. The family's role is society's backbone, especially since families shape up the children of today and the adults of tomorrow. Government is committed to better address the issues which directly
affect families so that the Gozitan family would be in a better position to provide the adequate social environment to its members and dependants for the collective benefit of society.
Moving from an attitude of reacting to environmental challenges to one which is pro-active towards attaining sustainability such as contributing to increasing the ecological balance (through for example creative, eco-friendly technologies and business practices) requires the fundamental contribution of young people. It is for this purpose, that the eco-Gozo vision recognises youth as a pivotal stake holder in the implementation of this vision. The realisation of the scope of this vision necessitates that the drive towards ecological modernisation is embedded in Gozo's kaleidoscopic social reality, including the life-world of young Gozitans in all its manifold dimensions.
Government proposes to:
• Introduce the Homestart project for vulnerable families in Gozo.
• Provide more childcare facilities in Gozo, in-house childcare facilities, after-school programmes and vacation caring facilities
• Consolidate child protection services in Gozo and evaluate the introduction of the Foundation for Welfare Services in Gozo.
• Set-up a regional youth council in Gozo.
• Create a role for young people in supporting the creation of sustainable communities in collaboration with local councils.
• Monitor alcohol and tobacco consumption by minors in Gozo
• Extend the range of services offered at the Adult Training Centre One-Stop-Shop to provide mainstream Government services more effectively.
• Develop disability-friendly facilities on www.eco-gozo.com and other Ministry for Gozo websites.
• Develop new services, even on a voluntary basis, to cater for elderly who are at risk of social exclusion.
• Publicise among newly-retired people the possibilities where they can provide a voluntary service.