Short description

The Maltese islands have a rich and long history going back to 5900 BC. Malta went through a golden Neolithic period which can been seen by the mysterious temples on the island. In later times, the Phoenicians, Cathaginians and Romans all left traces on the islands. St. Paul brought Christianity to the island when he was shipwrecked in 60 A.D. The Arabs conquered the island in 870, influencing the Maltese language as it is today. Up to 1530 Malta was an extension if Sicily before Malta was given to Order of St. John of Jerusalem by Charles V who took Malta through a golden age being a key player in the European cultural scene. In 1798, Napoleon took over Malta from the knights on his way to Egypt. The French however did not stay long as the English, requested by the Maltese, impeded the islands in 1800 and Malta voluntarily became part of the British Empire as a protectorate. The British ruled until the independence in 1964. Malta became a republic in 1974 and joined the EU in 2004.

The country of Malta refers to a group of islands and rocks in the Mediterranean Sea, with a total surface of 316 km2. The three largest island, Malta, Gozo and Comino, host all 415,000 people living here. The low, rocky islands can be identified by their coralline limestone and steep coastal cliffs. The highest point of the islands is Ta’ Dmejrek on Malta Island, with an altitude of 253 meters. About a third of the surface of the islands is used for agriculture. The Maltese Islands do not have any permanent surface water and some rivers only spring during extreme rainfall. The islands have to deal with a shortage of fresh water and depend on desalination.

Malta is a democratic republic which is governed by its parliamentary representatives. The president is the official head of state and holds the executive authority over the island. The prime-minister of the island is the head of government and the highest official of Malta. They hold the control over the government and its general direction. The two biggest political parties of Malta are the Christian Democratic Nationalist Party and the Social Democratic Labour Party. The current president, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and prime-mister, Joseph Muscat, are both members of the Labour party.

Official Name Republic of Malta
Capital Valletta
Official Languages English, Maltese
Religion Roman Catholic (98%)
Area 316 km2
Surface Water 0 km2
Coast Line 200 km
Population 432,089
Population with Maltese Nationality 94%
GDP 11,108.6 million (2017)
Unemployment rate 4.2%
Currency Euro

Malta has a typical Mediterranean climate with mild rainy winter and dry hot summers. The mean temperature for the summer months is 35°C while the lowest average monthly temperature is 11°C in winter. On average, the air temperature tended to increase over the past century (0.71°C/100 years). The warming rate is the strongest in summer with 1.5°C/100 years. The warming trend can be traced from the incidence and magnitude of extreme events, yearly recorded maximum temperatures have increased with 3°C over 100 years. There is no trend in observed rainfall, however short heavy occurrences of rainfall are increasing while days with rainfall between 1-50mm is decreasing.

In Malta, the average sea level has declined in the last 15 years. This can be explained by the transient effects which warrant sustained monitoring of sea level changes on the local scale. This situation does not guarantee against a future menace of sea level rise and it is prudent to thus adopt a precautionary approach and at the most moderate level make projections on the basis of the sea level trend in the more recent four years (2002‐2006) during which the sea level experienced an average rise of 0.45-0.15 cm/year. Sea surface temperature is increasing with +0.05°C/year over the last 40 years. Increasing air and sea water temperatures have a direct effect on the biodiversity and functioning of marine ecosystems (Source : Malta Resource Authority).

In 1988, David Attard, professor of international law, suggested the need for a comprehensive global strategy to protect the weather and climate by declaring climate to be part of the common heritage of mankind.  The UN unanimously agreed to Malta’s request to include climate change as an item in the General Assembly and the resolution entitled “Protection of Global Climate for Present and Future Generations of Mankind“ was adopted on 6 December 1988. The Maltese initiative also led to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.

Climate change vulnerability for Malta are mainly in the tourism, education and health sector, however development is also expected in sectors that are not sensitive to climate change issues, e.g. manufacturing, financial services and information and communications technology (Source: National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy). Malta as a whole is not particular vulnerable to sea-level rise due to its favorable topography, negligible land movement and good drainage (Briguglio, 2000), however certain low coastal areas with high concentrations of tourism structures, could be severely affected.

Blue economy sectors

Blue economy sectors

Tourism is one of the most important sectors for the Maltese economy contributing to approximately 15 % of the GDP. Tourists are visiting Malta for the island’s rich history and culture as well as aquatic activities. Lately, medical tourism has...

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Local Working group

Local Working group

The following partners are involved in the study of Malta: AquaBioTech Group (ABT) The following local stakeholders have declared their interest in participating in the local study of Malta in the frame of the Soclimpact project: Ministry for...

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