Ramblers worried over PL, FKNK agreement
The Ramblers’ Association (RAM) has expressed concern, having read the joint statement about the agreement reached between the Labour Party and the Federazzjoni Kaccaturi u Nassaba Konservazzjonisti (FKNK). It also read the analysis made by Bird Life Malta (BLM) and the statement issued today by the FKNK.
Whilst noting the positive side of the agreement in that both parties have agreed that they will be abiding strictly by EU laws and to the negotiated package, RAM also understands perfectly the concern felt by BLM at having been excluded from the discussions which led to this Agreement.
Certainly BLM cannot be accused of being partisan in their criticism of this agreement, for the simple reason that in these last years they have often been very critical also of the party in government on various issues.
It would have been more correct, more productive, and more in accordance with the Aarhus convention, had talks been held simultaneously with BLM, because on this issue it is the other major environmental stakeholder. The BLM’s analysis of the Agreement raises a number of very valid points. Had these points been raised during the said discussions the agreement could have been much less controversial.
Ramblers are not in a position to question certain conditions being bandied about by the FKNK and not mentioned in the agreement, but they note that the agreement, besides leaving important grey areas, such as safe access to the countryside, also give FKNK guarantees which could be of concern.
Any future government has an obligation to address environmental issues, like hunting and trapping, in a balanced manner and should therefore listen to all stakeholders. The ultimate objective is sustainablility of Malta’s ecosystems. A good first step in this direction would be discussions with BLM and other NGOs to see how this agreement can be made generally more acceptable.
While the PL has clearly stated its position vis-à-vis EU rules and regulations, albeit leaving some important grey areas, the PN's position on hunting and its impact on the people of Malta and the sustainablility of its wildlife has not been clarified at all, Ramblers said. Of the three political parties only Alternattiva Demoratika has a clearly stated position on this issue.